Catholics: dead pope’s blood will stop Mexican crime

August 23, 2011 • 9:33 am

One of the more loony episodes (and there are many) in the annals of the Catholic Church is this report from The Freethinker, “Catholics pin hopes on dead Pope’s blood to stem gang crime in Mexico.”  Yes, that’s right: a vial of the late Pope John Paul II’s blood is, with Vatican permission, going on a tour of Mexico in an attempt to stem unrest in that country:

An episcopal conference in Mexico has requested that the relic be sent over and, according to Vatican Radio, the “relic”will arrive in the country on August 17 before being taken to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

A week later the vial of blood from the “blessed” Pope John Paul, a title he acquired posthumously after his successor Benedict XVI beatified him in May, will be taken on a pilgrimage to other Catholic dioceses around the country.

The relic will be accompanied by a statue of the late Polish pope, born Karol Wojtyla, with the intended message one of reconciliation.

Killings in parts of Mexico have shot up in recent years amid a military crackdown on organized crime and drug cartels which has sent soldiers onto the streets.

Mexican bishops, in a statement broadcast on Vatican Radio, said:

The reminder of John Paul II and the love he had for our country should push us to reinforce the faith of the Mexican people, at a time when our nation is undergoing profound social change.

Here is the grisly relic that will make Mexicans put down their guns:

Equally sickening is this statement: “Several vials of blood were taken from Pope John Paul II during the last days of his life in 2005.”  Amazing to think that they leached the old dude’s body for relics while he was still alive, though maybe that was just for medical use.

Grania Spingies of Atheist Ireland, who reported this bizarre Sanginary Tour to me, had this to say about it (she’s an ex-Catholic):

Oh man, how embarrassing.

On the whole I don’t bother to draw people’s attention to the stuff that Freethinker publishes every week, because it’s a never-ending stream of crazy. It gets a bit ho-hum after a while. But whenever Catholics try to claim that their religion is sophisticated and liberal and trying to move with the times, I find it useful to point to examples like this that prove that Holy Mother Church is still trying to stupefy the peasants with carnie tricks.

The classic response from Catholics to this is: “Well, we don’t have to believe in these bits”.

The response to that, is: “So why does the Vatican endorse this stuff then?”

The question comes down to this. Either these relics are dead flesh with supernatural powers or they are not. By endorsing and promoting such things to whomever is  superstitious enough to be impressed by them, while at the same time holding them as optional parts of the faith to the more educated and “sophisticated” believers, the Vatican betrays a level of cynicism that one should not expect from an institution that holds itself up as a high example of morality.

79 thoughts on “Catholics: dead pope’s blood will stop Mexican crime

  1. Bleck… Relics are the grossest thing that Catholics do. I really can’t understand how they don’t notice the irony of preaching respect for life in all its forms and then ghoulishly rendering a dead person’s corpse and displaying it all over the world. Especially since half of them aren’t even the people they are proclaimed to be, which means that people tore up *other* people’s bodies.

    Gross, gross, gross.

  2. Recovering Catholic here: one of the things the Church does is to try to incorporate rituals from local religions into the Catholic one.

    If you ever visit a “border” church (one on the US-Mexico border) you’ll see a ton of examples of this: there will usually be candles with some paper with written requests “I’d like a job”, “I hope grandma gets well” and these will be placed in front of a statue.

    So, it is my guess is that this is a practice that originated locally and that the locals wouldn’t give up.

    1. Your guess is incorrect.

      Trafficking bits of dead bodies has been going on for centuries in the Catholic church, and it’s global.

      Here in Ireland we had bits of dead heart from one corpse and a whole dead body (face smothered in wax of course) last year.

      And before you think it’s an Irish thing, the dead body went to New York and Chicago too last year. It toured the world like a pop star making a comeback.

        1. Actually, there is a relic in every catholic church. It does not always have to be corporal, but it usually is. There are already hundreds of relics and Mexico, I doubt that one more will curtail any violence.

      1. They sure have a strange way of handling that organ donor card thing. “Use a vial of my blood to stop Mexican drug gangs, my freeze dried stomach lining to stop hunger in Darfur, and the skin off my left nut to cure priests of their little boy fetishes.” Use as directed.

      2. They should have hired the artisans from Madame Tussaud’s; the wax corpse looks more like a life-size GI Joe action figure than a human.

  3. This is one of those stories that makes me think I have a real adjective deficiency.

    I’ll just go with “ewww” for now.

    1. I think “ewww” sums it up quite well. It nicely captures the visceral response to the whole relic nonsense.

  4. “The reminder of John Paul II and the love he had for our country should push us to reinforce the faith of the Mexican people, at a time when our nation is undergoing profound social change.”

    They’re covering their asses here, in case someone accuses them of “trying to stupefy the peasants with carnie tricks.” No, they only meant the vials of blood to act as reminders of the pope. See? They’re not supposed to be magical relicts with supernatural powers. Not at all.

    Unless believing they are makes someone’s faith stronger. Then it can be that.

    This is one of the many things that distinguishes religious forms of ‘faith’ from secular garden-variety belief, trust, or confidence. There is no wrong way to come to faith: it’s not the method that matters, but the result. The important thing is fostering the sense of commitment — the attitude of bending-over-backwards and grasping at straws and giving in to primitive impulses so that you believe a fact the way you would remain loyal to a principle — or to a leader.

    I’m sure there will be many miracles attributed to the holy sacred vial of John Paul II’s blood. The standards of what constitutes a “miracle” will probably be depressingly low, however. Also look for a combination of selective validation and data mining. Strong arm robbery by left-handed assailants will fall below average: all praise to the power of the Blood.

      1. Or as Christopher Hitchens put it, No child’s behind left, a play on the Bush era “No Child Left Behind” Act.

    1. “This is one of the many things that distinguishes religious forms of ‘faith’ from secular garden-variety belief, trust, or confidence. There is no wrong way to come to faith: it’s not the method that matters, but the result.”

      Bravo, Sastra! This is by far the best way I’ve seen this distinction captured. I know it’s just one part of the distinction, but it’s a significant one — and it makes clearest some of the implications of faith-based approaches to science, why they’re not really science at all. So, well put. 🙂

    2. No! I won’t accept that the relics will fail – it is Pope’s blood! can you imagine that?!? Pope!! not pepe’s!(..eww..)- most probably the people are not doing the rituals properly, like those nuns carrying it, are they all virgins? do any of them ever touch a condom? Those detail may reduce the effectiveness, you know.

      Or the method of delivery, maybe the blood should be drunk by the narco-mafiosos!! Or at least the president! or the chief police!

      Until they do they right rituals, I still believe Pope’s blood is miraculous! You all believe in Vampire’s blood, but not Pope’s?

      (..ewww…. yes, I agree with the sentiment)

  5. John Paul II and the love he had for our country

    Would this be the same John Paul II that gave Father Marcial Maciel, the leader of the Legion of Christ, license to sexually abuse Mexican children, despite creditable evidence that he had been indulging in this behaviour since the 1950’s ?

    I’d say Mexico could do with a lot less of this sort of “love”.

    This reminds me of a Mother Teresa quote:

    One day I met a lady who was dying of cancer in a most terrible condition. And I told her, I say, “You know, this terrible pain is only the kiss of Jesus — a sign that you have come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you.” And she joined her hands together and said, “Mother Teresa, please tell Jesus to stop kissing me”.

    1. Of course I meant credible.

      And on the topic of Father Marcial Maciel, it appears that he was a bit of a drug addict to boot, so the Vatican should have some first hand experience in dealing with Mexico’s drug related problems.

    2. Thanks for mentioning Macial; he was the first thing I thought of, too.

      Let’s not forget that the current Bishop of Rome is the one who conspired to transport Macial across international borders to avoid prosecution by the Mexican authorities.

      How fitting that the Church should worship blood so; their hands are drenched in it.



      1. Well, they got their experience spiriting Nazi war criminals out of Germany after the 2nd world war, why put all that expertise to waste.

        I’m sure Maciel and Law (from Boston) had a lot to talk about whiling away their time in the Vatican.

      1. Yeah, I had heard about that. I didn’t know that they managed to lose all ‘Holy Foreskins’ subsequently. What a huge loss to science! Imagine, we might have had access to Jebus’s DNA.

        1. Credit to the Christians: based on the number of foreskins, it’s clear that Jesus was a monster of a sex god, with more schlongs than Shiva has arms….



        2. You might have access to Jesus’s DNA: the crown of thorns is kept in la Sainte Chapelle, Paris; given the usual iconography, it wounded the divine forehead and must have blood traces. Just test them.
          Jesus being a hybrid, it would be interesting to know what godly DNA is.

      2. Holy prepuce, batman. Come to think of it, I was never thing-a-ma-bobbed. I’ll agree to donate my foreskin (after I kick off, if you please!) if one of you boys or girls will spring for the alabaster box. We might be able to start a whole new religion called WEITism. No mandatory donations, but tips will be appreciated.

      3. According to the author David Farley, “Depending on what you read, there were eight, twelve, fourteen, or even 18 different holy foreskins in various European towns during the Middle Ages.”

        Which reminds me of a short story by Philip Jose Farmer, “J. C. on the Dude Ranch”, which is a Rabelaisian take on xtian mythos in a science fiction context.

        If I remember correctly the protagonist only has 2 prepuces.

  6. Well, it might have an effect. The gangs might stop shooting each other just long enough to gawk. Then back to business as usual.

    But one wonders whether why something as powerful as a vial of JPIIs blood couldn’t work at a distance? After all, prayers in Rome can be answered in Mexico, can’t they?

  7. Wouldn’t chicken blood work just as well?

    All I can think of is that that reliquary is going to make a mighty nice trophy for some Mexican drug lord.

    1. “All I can think of is that that reliquary is going to make a mighty nice trophy for some Mexican drug lord.”

      That would be an awesome result from this absurdity. Would the pope then send his Swiss Guards to reclaim it? Surely they’re as well armed as any Mexican drug lord. ; )

  8. So essentially this is supposed to work because they have faith? Well, when it doesn’t, what will the Vatican say then? “Oh better luck next time?”

    I don’t understand that because they are reminded of the Pope that suddenly killing will cease.

  9. They’re doing this all wrong. If the blood and the statue are traveling the country together, how will they be sure that it’s the blood (rather than the statue) that’s doing all or any of the miraculous heavy lifting?

  10. Ed Feser has written an in-depth philosophical justification showing how Aristotelian causation proves the blood of dead popes combats gang warfare. In fact, anyone who doesn’t believe it would be *insane*, his argument shows. The book’s called A-Minus. You need to read that first before indulging in such shallow mockery.

    1. Having read too many of F’s acolytes’ posts lately (at Choice in Dying), it took a sec… But, now that my interwebs-humour-interpretinator is all re-jigged and ready to roll: lol.

  11. Damn… I feel quite dissappointed here… I was criticizing texas and rick perry for “the response” and my own country is tryig to stop blood spill with… literally more blood? :S

  12. They have it all wrong. The dead pope’s blood thing only works if it is from the current pope, and it gets to Mexico in an hour and a half from now. At that rate they might run through the entire college of cardinals in a year or two, all the archbishops and bishops in five more and the priests…oops the priests are busy instructing the altar boys in the ways of the real world of catholic faith, blow by blow, and can’t be reached for comment.

  13. First of all, the Mexican drug gangs are so steeped in gore they’re unlikely to notice one little vial of blood. I’d encourage you to read up on the situation, but I don’t want you to blame me for the nightmares.

    Secondly, most of the gang members are not Catholics, but followers of Santa Muerte.

    This move by the church is like Perry’s Big Texas Raindance. It’s mere grandstanding as a cover for political impotence.

  14. But whenever Catholics try to claim that their religion is sophisticated and liberal and trying to move with the times, I find it useful to point to examples like this that prove that Holy Mother Church is still trying to stupefy the peasants with carnie tricks.

    Amen. The Holy Roman Catholic Church is the ultimate big tent, sheltering every one from the most suffisticated* Jesuit scholars to the Jesus-on-a-tortilla worshippers.

    * I spelled it wrong on purpose. Deal with it.

  15. Amazing to think that they leached the old dude’s body for relics while he was still alive, though maybe that was just for medical use.

    wait a minute…

    if they were taking his blood for medicinal purposes, ie, leeching, then the idea would be to remove “bad humors”.

    so, they have a vial of bad humors to tote around?

    1. Make me wonder how many times they “leeched” Pope’s other fluids? I am not talking of spits, but Holy Semen!! Twice a day? naaww, not possible at his age .. maybe blood had to be used in its place after certain ages …


  16. Why not use the blood of Christ through the miracle of the transubstantiation of wine? Could a sophisticated theologian please explain?

    1. They resort to Aristotelean nonsense about essences as opposed to substances as opposed to physicalities. I’d try to explain it to you, but it’s all bullshit that nobody actually understands or even really believes.


      1. You would, but to regurgitate or retrieve from a stomach the Holy Zombie’s transubstantiated blood would merely unsubstantiate it back to wine (perhaps with bits of carrot in it, because vom-vom always has carrot).

        Perhaps you need to read more theochemistry.

  17. In an imaginary video game world I had to find the Ashes of Andraste the prophet to cure someone. It’s all the same thing. Well, at least you can’t get any disease from ashes and ashes won’t putrefy.

    The next stage here is to claim miraculous healings and attribute them to the dead pope’s blood – that will gain him instant sainthood. I suspect these touring vials are meant to elicit such claims of miracles for the express purpose of declaring the dead pope a saint.

      1. By any objective measure, all the Abrahamic religions are unreservedly as polytheistic as any of the religions they supplanted — Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Teutonic, Mesoamerican — you name it.

        Right off the bat, we’ve got Satan. If Hades, Pluto, and Set were gods, then so too is Satan. Olympus had its Olympians; Heaven has its angels, seraphim, cherubim, and what-not. The Greeks had Prometheus, Pandora, and Perseus; Jews have Adam, Eve, and Abraham. Romans had protective ancestor gods with shrines in the home; Catholics have ancestor guardian angels with shrines in the home.

        The list goes on and on and on. Pick any god, however major or minor, in any polytheistic religion you care to think of, and there is a perfect equivalent in their modern descendants.

        Referring to modern religions as somehow monotheistic is laughable, and propaganda of the most unbelievable sort. It’s like how Russia was Marxist, Nazi Germany was Socialist, China is a Republic, and America is Capitalist. What a joke!



  18. Asked for her thoughts on the matter, Mexico City resident Maria Magdalene said “I don’t know how to love heme.”

  19. Perhaps if they saved some of JPII’s scrotum sweat they could use that to stop all these people coming out and publicly reporting that they were victims of clerical child rape?
    Not actually stop the child rape of course, just stop people reporting it.

  20. I wonder why we’re not making use of the countless number of super mosquitoes that no doubt were transformed by drinking great quantities of John Paul’s blood; he was an avid outdoors-guy.

    I’m also curious to know what happens to a person who has been bitten by a mosquito that has consumed pope-blood.

    There could be some serious superhero shit going on here.

    1. Super-Q ? Super mosquitos … what happen if after sucking Pope’s blood they suck vampire’s? the heme war of right and wrong!

  21. I went through 12 years of Catholic schools.

    Forty plus years later, I am an agnostic

    These people are insane.

  22. What gets me is that they worship the three-in-one clearance-sale god of the Trinity, they pray to his/their Earth-mother Mary and to the saints and ask them favours & protection (hey – whoever said the church was allowed to appoint post-mortem sub-deities who could accept and act on prayers anyway?), they drink the magic blood and eat the magic flesh of their undead saviour and they pass around vials of magic blood and other holy bits of corpse (heck, it used to be magic foreskins fer crissakes) – yet they’re likely to get very offended if you call them a thinly-disguised pseudo-pagan death-obsessed cult.

    They also have public rage-boners & hissy-fits against innocent fiction like mediocre sparkly vampires and precocious boy wizards. Frankly I think the Vatican capos are less concerned with people actually invoking the undead and privately pissed that someone else is getting some of the market share. I honestly don’t think most of the church heirarchy buys into this Vaudevillian shtick, however, as the cynical Machiavellian manipulators they are, they’re happy to perpetuate it among their Third-world thralls rubes to keep the numbers up and the ducats rolling in.

    1. “This is business!” (I forgot which character in which Godfather movie said this.)

      The RCC’s business model is a cross between the Cosa Nostra and Voodoo.

    2. Actually, the practice of creating new gods goes way back to pre-Christian Roman days (and probably many many other places).

      Heroes, emperors…basically anyone with the right uumph in the right places could get him/herself elected as a god by the Roman Senate.

      Christianity just picked up on this notion.

      1. Thanks – I was aware of that but it’s probably something I should’ve made more explicit in my little rant! The co-option of pagan practices and rebranding of them as uniquely Christian was a calculated & brilliant political move.

        Allowing such things as deifying humans (pre or post-mortem) and the pagan festivals to continue within the new state religion, just with different names and reasons, may well have been the smartest thing the early church fathers did – they basically said “same shit, different gods!” and the people lapped it up. I imagine if Rome had attempted to impose a new state religion of poverty and puritanism that it would’ve been ignored at best or violently resisted at worst.

  23. How sick it is. So Dracula still lives, or Sr. Dracula: one of the few remaining “penguins” of the “Holy” Roman Catholic Church. I thought there were vials of the “Blessed Blood of Jesus” around as is His Holy Foreskin.

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