Catholic Holy Relics: The Holy Foreskin of Jesus and Vials of Mary’s Breast Milk

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Ah, Christians. As with most religions, Christianity has taken the standard religious ideal of getting rid of idols and turned it into getting rid of idols  save for those they create. In Christianity the most mystical and downright disturbing of these icons of veneration is the preserved body parts of various Christian figures. None were considered more holy than the preserved Foreskin from the cock of Jesus, and vials that contained the breast milk of the Holy Mother Mary…

It all starts with Francis of Assisi and his creation of the Order of Friars Minor, or the Franciscans. Francis believed that he should go out into the desert, live in a cave, and devote his every waking hour to the contemplation of the divine after hearing a sermon about Matthew 10:9. He gained quite a few supporters, and was given permission to found a new order by Pope Innocent III (quite a funny name for a cat that basically forced the kings of Europe to acknowledge him as their feudal lord, declared the Magna Carta null-and-void at the request of King John, and started the Fourth and Fifth Crusades… but that’s another story…) in 1209.

Now since this is all during the Crusades there are a lot of people out there who could use some cleansing of the soul… not just for the sins committed during the Crusades themselves (that was Holy Work in itself, right?) but what about the sins from before? Most of these guys were professional solders, after all. And if you have spent the whole day hacking off the limbs of Muslims and raping their children, I’m sure you didn’t feel that God wouldn’t be too hip to giving you forgiveness, no matter what the Pope said… or at least that seems to be the thinking at the time. So if your prayers weren’t worth shit, perhaps someone else should pray for you, as a kind of insurance policy for your everlasting soul. And who better than the monks who live ascetically in the caves? Who could possibly be closer to God than a monk in a cave? For a few bits of gold and some food, surely these holy men could be distracted from contemplations of the almighty long enough to save the soul of a bloodthirsty warrior, right?

Monks started to sell prayers so fast that the cave gave way to Chapels and Basilicas as the gold flowed. But then they ran into a problem. As they gained more money and built larger and larger edifices, the crusaders began to feel that the heavens wouldn’t pay attention to the prayers of folks with such wealth. So what to do? One solution was to constantly build new abbeys every time the old ones got too rich. It’s because of this that Abbeys dot the landscape across Europe. But there was another idea to keep the money flowing into even the most ostentatious site… The Holy Relic.

At first, it was simply various body parts of martyrs and saints. The more holy the person, and more vital the body part, the more holiness seeped into the church and its monks. So naturally, the holiest of them all have to be parts800px-circoncisionrothenburg from Jesus, right? Well, there was a problem with that. Jesus ascended to heaven, right? So no body, which means no body parts to venerate. Hmm. Well, since when did a little thing like that stop the Catholic Church from getting money and power? And so in the case of Jesus, all sorts of objects started to appear. What about things that Jesus shed during his life? Before you know it abbey and chapels started displaying the fingernails of Christ. The Milk (Baby) teeth of God’s only son. The Umbilical Cord of Jesus. Even the loincloth worn during the crucifixion. But none more holy than the foreskin of the messiah.

Known as the Holy Prepuce, as many as 6 seperate Churches have claimed to hold this relic (and that was just during the Medieval period!). So many Perpuces were floating around that the Church developed a method to test a “specimen’s authenticity.” What was this method? A TASTE TEST, of course! According to David M. Friedman in his book A Mind of its Own

“[a] properly trained physician… would chew the shriveled leather … to determine whether it was wholly or partially human.”

So important was this tiny ring of flesh that it has “touched” many people, such as St. Agnes of Blannbekin, who stated that every time she took Communion, she imagined that it was really the Holy Cock Skin of Christ that she was chewing (perhaps she knew some medieval physicians). Saint Catherine of Siena claimed that the ring that she wore was really a mystical form of the Holy Prepuce. In France one of the Prepuces was “protected in a shriveled leather pouch… known as the “Purse Reliquary of the Circumcision” Historian Marie-Madeleine Gauthier writes that the shape of this holy purse became the fashionable shape for all the purses in medieval Europe.

But lest all this talk of cock skin makes you think that this was a wholly macho affair, another very hot commodity onbernhardclairvaux_lactatio_sourceunknown the new Relics market was vials of breast milk from the Virgin Mary. The “Milk of Mary” was something of which Catholic legend is literally swimming in. An entire church (Known as the Church of the Milk Grotto) was founded on a white stone outside of Bethlehem because the locals claimed that on this rock the Virgin Mary stopped to breastfeed the baby Jesus and spilled a little milk on its surface, turning it a white color. One of the miracles of St. Bernard was that he stood before a statue of the virgin Mary and exclaimed “Show that you are a mother!” at which point the statue came to life and shot milk into the mouth of this saint. I shit you not. This also was known as the “Miracle of Lactation” and was the subject of numerous religious works of art. The vials became known to cure just about every aliment one can imagine, and flooded chapels and monasteries all over the Christian world. It got to the point that John Calvin (who absolutely hated relics, yet loved money) wrote that “even if she (Mary) had been a cow her whole life, she could not have produced such a quantity”


~ by herodotuswept on December 12, 2008.

12 Responses to “Catholic Holy Relics: The Holy Foreskin of Jesus and Vials of Mary’s Breast Milk”

  1. Laura Bushnell, aka claims to have the breast milk of the Virgin Mary, and sells it to clients. Is that fraud?

  2. Oh, I don’t know… Can this person really prove that her milk comes from the source she claims? Some how I doubt it. Not to mention you have to wonder where she is getting her refills when she runs out of stock… Does she have a special “Milk Line” she calls? Perhaps a delivery service?

  3. Laura Bushnell claims in replenishes itself!
    Bushnell plagiarized several books in the past years, Candle Magick by Lady Rhea, and an Aids book by Dr. Lawence Bagley. Both tried to sue her, but she begged them not to!
    So, is she just a practiced liar?
    Laura Bushnell, aka, claims to make a fountain of “holy nectar water” come out of her hand, she calls it the nectar of giving. Someone should get that on film and prove it.

  4. Yep, sounds like a bunch of gullible bullshit to me. The folks that she plagiarized from should sue to the full extent of the law. It’s the only way she will be stopped…

  5. What about vials of Christ’s semen?

  6. ABC channel 7 in san fran is promoting Wiccan Laura Bushnell as a life coach!!
    In a clip on their website, Bushnell is wearing a “relic” she bought from the black market, she claims. I think it is claimed to be Joan of Arc’s blood and hair. Does she not know that all of the relics are fake, and that kind of fraud was only started to make money for the church?
    I am stunned that ABC would give her any legitimacy at all, scary!
    Bushnell did not, I repeat did not do the fountain from her hand trick.

  7. You write: “John Calvin (who absolutely hated relics, yet loved money)” Even Wikipedia records: On 25 April, he made his will, in which he left small sums to his family and to the collège. . . . . he was buried in an unmarked grave in the Cimetière de Plainpalais” Seems that if he loved money so much, he would have had a much more significant monument laid out for himself. has a similiar (same?) piece and adds, ”
    The impetus he gave to austerity, frugality, and hard, uncomplaining work may have had some influence in forming a capitalist mentality devoted to the acquisition but not the enjoyment of wealth.”

    • Well, I never said that he spent all of the money his church made on himself. In fact I didn’t mention him spending it at all. But since you bring it up, even if he didn’t spend much of that money on himself, he certainly seems to enjoy lavishing money on churches and the like. In the very Wikipedia article you mentioned has information that states that he “may have had some influence in forming a capitalist mentality devoted to the acquisition but not the enjoyment of wealth.” In fact, if you look into some of the scholarly works written about Luther from folks like Martin Brecht and Michael A. Mullett (and even in that same Wikipedia article) Katharina von Bora talks about how often they fought over money, since in her words Luther liked to spend it, and she liked to save it.

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