The relics are found Print
By Pope Paul VI   
Monday, 27 January 2014

In these last years, mention has often been made of the ‘victory monuments’ which without a doubt refer to the tombs of the two martyred Apostles [Peter and Paul], which Gaius said were already the object of veneration in the second century. This led to a passionate interest in the Scavi that Pope Pius XII … ordered to be done under the main altar of the ‘confession’ of St. Peter’s Basilica, to better identify the tomb of the Apostle on top of which and in whose honor this basilica has been built. These most difficult and precise excavations were done in the 40s and 50s and led to incredibly important archaeological findings… Pope Pius XII, in his 1950 Christmas radio message, said, “The essential question is the following: Has the tomb of St. Peter truly been found? The final conclusion of the archeologists and scholars is a most clear ‘Yes.’ The tomb of the Prince of the Apostles has been found. There is also a second question, dependent on the first, regarding the saint’s relics: Have they been found?’” Paul VI noted that Pius XII’s response was non-committal.

New very time-consuming and accurate studies have been done since, with results that, strengthened by the judgment of the talented and prudent people responsible, I positively trust: St. Peter’s relics have also been identified in a way I consider convincing… The research, verification, discussions and debate will continue, but it seems that I have a duty, at the present state of archaeological and scientific conclusions, to give you and the Church this happy news, bound as we are to honor the sacred relics that have been subjected to a series of tests to establish their authenticity. In the present case, we must be all the more eager and exultant since we have reason to maintain that we have found a few of the most holy mortal remains of the Prince of the Apostles, Simon, son of Jonah, the fisherman Christ called Peter, whom the Lord chose to be the foundation of his Church and to whom the Lord entrusted the keys of his kingdom, with the mission of shepherding and reuniting his flock. – General Audience, June 26, 1968 

 

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