Christian relics – Protection by canon and criminal law

Christian relics – Protection by canon and criminal law

Christian relics – Protection by canon and criminal law.
Although they are protected by canon law, which considers their sale unworthy and prohibits their permanent transfer or disposal without the consent of the Holy See. Secular law also applies to them. We are talking primarily about first-class relics, in the context of which questions are asked about the legal status of human corpses.

Should relics several hundred years old be treated as corpses and the appropriate legal criteria applied to them, or should they be treated as a monument that is an object of culture? How should human remains be treated in public view? The decision to display them always requires weighing the goods: on the one hand, respect for the corpse or remains, on the other hand, the scientific or didactic (educational) benefits associated with showing the given object to a wider audience.

Another problem is dividing the relic into smaller parts. Is there no desecration of the corpse in this context? In the light of the provisions of criminal law, insulting a corpse consists not only in desecrating, damaging, destroying, dismembering. But also a position inconsistent with cultural requirements, naked, spit on, eaten or simply taken out of the grave. The sharing of relics therefore fulfills these characteristics.

However, as pointed out by Jacek Mazurkiewicz and Piotr Szymaniec, the authors of the work “I will not all die, many of me will stay here … Legal aspects of human remains as cultural assets and the integrity of corpses in cultural tradition”. The 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 strongly dependent on customs and culture.The subjective side of the act, i.e. the psychological attitude of the perpetrator, is also very important. It is assumed that this act can be committed intentionally. What does it mean? If there is no desire to defile, there is no crime under the law. The use of bodies for scientific purposes has a similar problem. After all, donating a body for scientific purposes is also associated with its use and dismemberment, write the authors.

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