Jesus was born on Christmas, died on Good Friday and was resurrected on Easter. But what happened to Jesus on New Year’s? Which event besides His birth and His resurrection is important for Christians to celebrate? It is the entry of Jesus into the covenant of Abraham. On New Year’s Jesus was circumcised!
For Catholics there’s the question concerning Jesus‘ foreskin on Ascension Day. According to Catholic faith, Jesus was resurrected physically intact. What about the foreskin? And if so, did it still fit? The answer is: No! The foreskin didn’t go to heaven. The small membrane remained on Earth and will be retrieved by Jesus at his second coming. That’s Catholic teaching! So, where is the foreskin now?
During the Middle Ages, Pope Leo III claimed to have been in possession of the Holy Prepuce! It’s not known what he did with it. Looked at it? Worshipped it? Touched it? Pope Leo III reports that Charlemagne gave him the relic of the Holy Prepuce on the occasion of his coronation as emperor on December 25 in the year 800. Now that’s a Christmas present! Charlemagne had the foreskin either from an angel or from the Empress Irene of Byzantium. Legends conflict. It is allegedly one of several relics safeguarded in Sancta Sanctorum at Lateran.
According to another legend, the relic was said to have been stolen by Habsburg soldiers along with Spanish and Italian mercenaries during the sacking of Rome in 1527. A retreating Habsburg soldier was arrested north of Rome and placed by Count Anguillara in the castle of Calcata. The soldier is said to have hidden the foreskin in his cell, where it was rediscovered 30 years later. Apparently, it isn’t appetizing to cellar mice and rats! Since then, the foreskin was safe-guarded in the local parish church. The Holy Prepuce was shown there regularly during public processions until 1983. But then, it disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The attempts of the British television journalist Miles Kington in 1997 to find the Holy Prepuce ended unsuccessfully.
Another relic of the Holy Prepuce appeared in Antwerp in the year 1112. After a solemn entry into the Church of Our Lady, where a respective chapel was erected, the Bishop of Cambrai witnessed three drops of blood fall from it. However, this relic was lost during the Iconoclastic Fury of 1566.
In 1421, Catherine of Valois asked her husband, King Henry V of England, to find the relic for her, because its sweet fragrance would guarantee a gentle baby delivery. The relic was enshrined at the Abbey Church of Coulombs and then disappeared during the French Revolution. Even Andechs Monastery in the Middle Ages claimed to be in possession of the Holy Prepuce. With so many foreskins, Jesus’ penis must have been enormous! Even Leo Allatius, a Greek scholar and curator of the Vatican Library speculated in the 17th century in his „Lecture on the foreskin of our Lord Jesus Christ“ that the Holy Prepuce rose up into outer space and transformed into one of Saturn’s rings.
Whether near Saturn or on earth, the foreskin according to Catholic belief is in this world. However, the foreskin can’t be in the Host! The Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation (transformation) states that at the moment of the Eucharist, the host and wine transforms into Jesus‘ flesh and blood, not only symbolically, but in its „essence“ and in its “elements“. That belief in the Catechism of the Catholic Church was confirmed in 1992 by Pope John Paul II, the earthly representative of the man whose blood and flesh are being discussed.
”CANON I.-If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.”
– THE COUNCIL OF TRENT, Session XIII – The third under the Supreme Pontiff, Julius III, celebrated on the eleventh day of October, 1551
Only those who truly believe in the sense of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that they are eating the flesh of the resurrected Jew during communion are true Catholics. Therefore, it’s not surprising that in the Middle Ages many Christians believed that Jews prepared their matzah with Christian blood. They merely projected what they themselves believed was possible.
What do Catholic vegetarians do? Can they ever receive the salvation of Christ’s body or are there tofu or vegetable alternatives? What would Catholics do if the Green Party creates a lawfully binding vegetarian day on Sundays?
“But since Christ our Redeemer declared that to be truly His own body which He offered under the form of bread, it has, therefore, always been a firm belief in the Church of God, and this holy council now declares it anew, that by the consecration of the bread and wine a change is brought about of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood. This change the holy Catholic Church properly and appropriately calls transubstantiation.”
– CHAPTER IV TRANSUBSTANTIATION; THE COUNCIL OF TRENT, Session XIII – The third under the Supreme Pontiff, Julius III, celebrated on the eleventh day of October, 1551
The Catholic Church deals in two thousand year old meat! Now, if that’s not a rotten meat scandal. Any Turkish snack stand would be closed down for much less cause! On top of that, the Catholic Church offers wine from the year 33 AD. Does the Church have a liquor license?
To date, hosts don’t have an expiration date, although all products sold for human consumption in the European Union are required by European law to have an expiration date and hygienically clean packaging. Even salt. SALT! Salt lies buried for millions of years in mountains, but when it’s sold in a cardboard box, European Union law requires the label: „Best before …“
Actually, each host should be wrapped separately in foil and provided with an expiration date. That’s exactly what EU Commissioner, Emma Bonino, recently brought up.
Why doesn’t the Catholic Church engage modern science to accelerate the second coming of the Lord? If during the transubstantiation wine transforms into Jesus’ blood in its „essence“ and in its “elements“, why don’t Catholics extract part of a host, decipher the DNA and simply clone the second coming of the Lord? Then, Jesus could finally get his foreskin back!
In the 13th century, a peasant girl, named Agnes Blannbekin, from Plambach didn’t know that the foreskin couldn’t be in the host. Nevertheless, she claimed to have felt the sensation of Christ’s foreskin in her mouth during the Eucharist. The relevant story was recorded by the local priest and was published in 1731 by the Benedictine Bernhard Pez, but was then quickly retracted at the instigation of Jesuits because they knew the foreskin could not possibly be in the Host! The monks decided that hosts don’t taste like foreskins, and who wouldn’t know better than they?
To all those who celebrate, I wish a happy Feast of the Circumcision of Christ!
(Translation by William Wires, a catholic like me!)