From our friends at Rorate, more information about just how wrong liturgist Anscar Chupungco, OSB really is. My emphases.
Veneration of relics is “a sad chapter in the history of the liturgy”
From Anscar Chupungco’s What, Then, is Liturgy?: Musings and Memoir, Claretian Publications, Quezon City 2010, pp. 51-52:
The veneration of the bodies or relics of saints is a sad chapter in the history of the liturgy. In the Middle Ages dealers made a big business out of the sale of bones purportedly of saints but later discovered, thanks to modern technology, to be of animals. Unsuspecting devotees brought them and built magnificent chapels to house richly Italicadorned reliquaries. When I was a student in Europe it was one of my diversions to look for some of the most amusing kinds of relics: a feather of St. Michael the Archangel, a piece of cloth stained with the milk of the Blessed Virgin, one of the prepuces of the Child Jesus, and believe it or not, a bottle containing the darkness of Egypt! The great reformer Martin Luther, appalled by aberrations committed on relics, fiercely took issue with the Catholic Church. Indeed, who would not be scandalized by reports that when priests were compelled to celebrate only one Mass a day to stifle the abuses surrounding Mass stipends, some had the temerity to simulate the Mass and raise the relic of a saint at the supposed moment of consecration? I can still hear my mentor Adrian Nocent’s dismissive remark when he listened to stories of relics, private apparitions, and saccharine devotions: “It’s another religion!”
Abstracting from the deviations of the past and from the odd practice of displaying dismembered parts of the bodies of saints for public veneration, it is important to keep in mind that the liturgy gives special honor to the human body, whether it is of a great saint or a departed ordinary Christian…
Adrian Nocent OSB was one of the leading lights of the liturgical reform of the 1960′s.
First, the abuse of something doesn’t obliterate the things proper use. Just because there were excesses or abuses in some period, that doesn’t mean that relics cannot be venerated properly.
Also, the writer undermines his own argument. He states that we give special honor to the human body… um …. exactly.
Finally, the writer seems to ignore that people have venerated the bodies of dead heros for a lot longer than Christianity has been around. People know in their bones that their bones are important, even when we are not at the moment actually using them. The followers of John the Baptist obtained John’s body. The Lord’s Body, taken down from the Cross, was treated with tenderness. The earliest Christians treated the bodies of their dead, especially martyrs, with reverence. They built their altars over or close to the graves of their great holy brothers and sisters. Relics inspired not only excesses or abuses – which I would remind the writer came from being sinful, the desire to cheat or deceive – but also deep and lasting piety that lead to emulation of the holiness of our forebears.
But it may be that Chupungco, in his desire to affirm the present, the ephemeral in local cultures, has no interest in that which ties us to the past. Relics certainly tie us to the past. Relics are countercultural. That is not what someone totally dedicated to liturgical “inculturation” would want at work.