In the Fort Worth Star Telegram, afternoon edition for carrier delivery outside of Fort Worth, May 3, 1954, the following AP news item from Naples, Italy, was carried:
“NAPLES CATHOLICS FEAR BAD LUCK — Catholic Neopolitans feared Monday the city faces a year of bad luck — the hardened blood of their patron, St. Januarius, was a day late in melting this year.
“The blood is kept in two silver phials in the Naples Cathedral. For the last four centuries, it is said, it has softened on the first Saturday in May in answer to prayers. Three times the blood remained hard—before a bubonic plague in 1527, a cholera epidemic in 1884 and the 1944 eruption of Vesuvius.
“Bell ringing and fireworks signified the public joy Sunday when the Cathedral announced the blood of the martyred saint finally had liquefied.
“Rejoicing was tempered, however, because the word came one day late. A delay of only a few hours in 1940 was followed by Italy’s disastrous entry into World War Two.”
Can you imagine anything more nonsensical in the first place than a so-called Christian group maintaining bottles of old dried blood, collected at the scene of execution of one of their members? What good would the whole carcass of one of their so-called saints be? When the wife of the beloved Abraham died, it is written of the great patriarch, Genesis 23:2-4, “And Abraham rose up from before his dead, and spake unto the children of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” In the New Testament it is the same story. In Acts 8:2, we see what happened to the body of Stephen after he was stoned to death, “And devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him.”
What the world missed when he was buried whole! They could have cut off his toe-nails and his finger-nails and shaved his head and picked up some of his blood. These “holy relics” could have been divided and almost the whole world could have benefitted in possessing them—a few in Europe, a few in Asia, a toe-nail or two for Australia, some fingernails for Africa and the hair of his head to America. In answer to prayer the hair probably would have doubled once each year, and by now every country and many of the major cities could have had a sample.
What earthly benefit could a bottle of dried blood be to a Christian? If we had all the spilled blood of every martyred saint since the establishment of the church, would we be better off for it? Why then the collection of the mummified parts and the offal of human beings? These filthy things would better grace a tomb or a sewer than a church of God.
The New Testament speaks much about the blood of Christ and by it we are saved, but there is no efficacy attached to the blood of others. In Ephesians 1:7, it is written, “In whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” In Romans 3:24-25, we read, “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done afore-time, in the forbearance of God.” In the book of Hebrews, chapter 9, verses 11 to 14, we note the following: “But Christ having come an high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, (and martyred saints—RVH) but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto the cleanness of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
From the foregoing passages of New Testament scripture, we observe that the blood that will help Christians is the blood of Christ. We observe, further, that the blood of Christ was offered by him as our high priest to God in heaven; and that the only way the blood can mean anything to us is “through faith.” If we do not have enough faith in the blood of Christ to be saved by it, then we could not be saved or helped in any way even if we had the head of John the Baptist.
The idolatrous practice of venerating relics as portrayed in the newspaper clipping above is no better than the worshipping of an idol of wood or jade by the superstitious heathen in darkest Africa.
That the blood of St. Januarius “liquefies” annually in answer to prayer I deny and brand it the deceitful “working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” as described by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, and by John in Revelation 16:13-15. It utterly amazes me how any intelligent person could countenance a system that broadcasts such brazen lies.