Christian relics – Aspects canonical and criminal law
Christian relics – Although the canon law protects them. Which considers their sale unworthy and forbids their permanent transfer or disposal of their condition without the consent of the Holy See. In their case, secular law also applies. I am talking primarily about first-degree relics, in the context of which questions are asking about the legal status of human corpses.
Should relics dating back to several hundred years be treating as a corpse and should be treating with the appropriate legal criteria, or as a cultural monument? How should human remains on display be dealing with? The decision to display them always requires weighing the goods: on the one hand, respect for the corpse or remains, on the other – the scientific or didactic (educational) benefits. Associated with showing object to a wider audience.
Another problem is dividing the relics into smaller parts. Doesn’t the corpse be desecrated in this context? In the light of the provisions of criminal law. Insulting a corpse consists not only in profaning, damaging, destroying and dismembering a body. But also an arrangement inconsistent with cultural requirements, as well as exposition, spit on, eating or simply taking out of the grave. Therefore, dividing the relics fulfills these marks.
However, as Jacek Mazurkiewicz and Piotr Szymaniec, authors of the work “Not all of me will die, much of me will stay here … Legal aspects of human remains as cultural goods and the integrity of the corpse in the cultural tradition”, point out. Interpretation of these laws depends on time, place and environment. “In different social groups, different behaviors may or may not be considered abusive. It is therefore a crime that is highly dependent on customs and culture.
The subjective side of the act, i.e. the perpetrator’s mental attitude, is also very important. It is assumed that this act can be committed intentionally. What does it mean? If there is no desire to desecrate, there is no legal crime. A similar problem is faced with the use of bodies for scientific purposes. After all, donating the body for scientific purposes is also associated with its use and dismemberment “- the authors write.