ARTICLE SHARE: Incorruptibility and the Saints [Fr. Z’s Blog]
If you have ever wondered about the incorrupt bodies of some saints and have asked if it was important for sainthood or a guaranteed sign of it, a reader of Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (Fr. Z)’s great blog tossed a similar question to his QUAERITUR box, and I would like to share bits of it here.
Here was the original question.
Hi Father, is it important for a saints body to be incorrupt after death? Does it confirm the person was holy and what does it say about the saints whose bodies are not incorrupt? Thanks!
Some of Fr. Z’s response
Well, the fact that the body of a saint is incorrupt is certainly important, but it is not obligatory for the saint’s cause or our veneration.
This is especially the case with St. Bernadette. At the time when her cause for beatification and canonization was being explored, as a necessary part of the process her body was exhumed – in fact several times over the years
her habit had pretty much rotted away, but she was untouched by corruption except in some patch of skin where salts had concentrated.
Incorruptibility can have a profound effect on people, and the below is a reminder that the ultimate purpose for ALL miracles and wonders worked through the saints and in our daily lives is NOT merely to wow us but to bring nonbelievers to faith and to strengthen the faith of the faithful.
A prominent atheist was asked to do an examination of the body. When he opened her abdomen, he found incorrupt skeleton and organs. He converted to Catholicism.
Here’s the rest of the article.
Fr. Z’s Blog: ASK FATHER: Incorrupt bodies of saints.
Also some good info on incorruptibility and incorrupt saints below.
Above picture of the incorrupt body of St. John Vianney originally taken by Herwig Reidlinger, no modifications; used under CC BY-SA 3.0.