In yesterday's Sunday Times. She's also Fr Owl's mum!
RELICS of the saints have been venerated by the faithful in the Catholic church since time immemorial (“Saints alive, all this religious tolerance has gone too far”, Comment, last week), as have the places where, in their belief, miracles have occurred (Lourdes, Santiago, Fatima, Lisieux, Avila, and so on).
The Anglican church also finds solace in and designates special places for veneration and worship — the Martyrdom in Canterbury Cathedral and the shrine at Walsingham, for example. The case of St Thérèse of Lisieux is far from being the “bamboozling of frightened, suffering, suggestible people”: Catholics are free to choose whether they visit and pray before her sacred relics.
As to Minette Marrin’s point that relics should not be taken into Wormwood Scrubs, why not? Christ was the first to forgive sinners. Why should prisoners be denied some hope because of misguided political correctness about the laws on equality or the view that “beliefs [that] are not merely irrational but sometimes dangerous and unacceptable”.
If personal belief directs the faithful towards veneration, then it is to be respected and accepted. The adulation of celebrity is tolerated by a far greater number than the “thousands of the faithful” who queued “patiently in Portsmouth”.
Bernadette Kiely Faversham, Kent