| THE QUEST FOR PETER'S BONES
What ‘BLESSING’ To Catholicism would the discovery of the Bones of Peter be, IF they were discovered in Rome... But on the same token, what an embarrassment would the finding of the Bones of Peter in Jerusalem be to the Roman Church, who teaches they were founded by Peter, who they say, were martyred and buried there in Rome..
Rome thought they had them!
In his Christmas radio message on December 23, 1950, Pope Pius XII announced that, confirmed by work and study, the actual tomb of "St. Peter" had been found. He went on to make a second revelatory statement:
A second question . . . concerns the relics of the saint: have they been found? . . . New investigations, most patient and accurate, were subsequently carried out with the results that we, comforted by the judgment of qualified, prudent and competent people, believe are positive. The relics of Saint Peter have been identified in a way we believe convincing.
Some 18 years later, another pope made a similar confirmation that the remains of Peter had been found and confirmed:
[W]e believe it our duty, in the present state of archaeological and scientific conclusions, to give you and the church this happy announcement, bound as we are to honor sacred relics, backed by a reliable proof of their authenticity… In the present case, we must be all the more eager and exultant when we are right in believing that the few but sacred mortal remains have been traced of the Prince of the Apostles, of Simon son of Jonah, of the fisher-man named Peter by Christ, of he [sic] who was chosen by the Lord to found His church and to whom He entrusted the keys of His kingdom … until His final glorious return.--Text of Announcement by Pope Paul VI Concerning the Relics, The New York Times, 27 June 1968
Now, just where was Peter buried? And what relics of his were found at the burial site? This is where things get rather interesting.
The high altar of St. Peter's Basilica is a magnificent work of religious architecture. Just 20 feet or so beneath the high altar, in the basement of the Basilica, one can view an ugly, graffiti-covered brick-and-plaster wall. Inside the wall, known as the Graffiti Wall, there is a rectangular cavity containing nineteen clear plastic boxes filled with old bones, some of which are claimed to be the mortal remains of St. Peter himself. A bronze gate, set at some distance from the wall, prevents visitors from getting too close. However, there is a opening in the wall, through which one can see two of the boxes and their bony contents.
Are the bones in these boxes, so carefully protected in the very bullseye of Catholic focus, those of Peter? Well, it seems that ten of the boxes hold the remains of domestic animals — goats, sheep, cows, swine, and a chicken.
In another of the boxes rest the mortal remains of a mouse. The other eight boxes hold human remains. There can be no doubt these are the remains of Peter, for an "infallible" pope has declared them to be such. Unfortunately, Pope Paul VI neglected to explain how Peter came to include the bones of a mouse and various farm animals in the inventory of his skeletal remains. Rather makes one curious as to what Peter really looked like in the flesh, doesn't it?
The most precious of Peter's bones found in the Graffiti Wall are the 29 fragments of the Apostle's skull. Note: the 29 pieces of Peter's skull found in the Grafitti Wall are not to be confused with Peter's other skull, which is stored in the Cathedral of St. John Lateran.
The Graffiti Wall bones of Peter and Peter's other skull are not the only true relics of the "Prince of the Apostles" found in and around the Vatican. In a page one article in the August 22, 1949 edition of the New York Times, Camille Cianfarra revealed that Vatican archeologists had discovered another of Peter's skeletons in the Red Wall, yards away from the place where the plastic boxes of Peter's bones are worshipped today.
Pope Pius XII is reported to have kept these bones in his private apartment for 14 years, during which time he had his personal physician, Dr. Galeazzi-Lisi, and several medical experts, examine them. The consensus of the authorities was that the bones were those of a powerfully built male who died in the seventh decade of his life. That just had to be Peter, didn't it?
Anyway, Correnti and his team began their detailed study of the bones taken from the papal-certified "authentic tomb of St. Peter." It is pretty well accepted, at least in medical circles I should think, that human beings each have two fibula, one in each leg. Imagine Correnti's shock when he discovered a third fibula among the bones he was examining. How his consternation must have increased when he identified five tibias (Again, the normal human allotment is two tibias per person). What is more, one of the tibias was definitely that of a woman. Hmmmmm. Could there have been some things about Peter we have not been told?
The situation continued to deteriorate as Correnti's collaborator, Luigi Cardini positively identifed some half a hundred of the bones and fragments to have originally been used to hold up the skin of hogs, sheep, goats and a few chickens.
The bones found by the Red Wall, and certified by one of those "infallible" popes as having been found in the "true tomb of the Prince of the Apostles," were quietly stored away in some secret location. Unlike the bones found in the Graffiti Wall, they are not venerated.
SO WHERE ARE THE BONES OF PETER?
As we have seen in my previous studies, the Scriptures strictly deny that Peter was in Rome up to 65 AD.
I left the option that Peter possibly could have been brought to Rome as a prisoner and martyred in the year 67 AD... But now this looks very doubtful.... Seeing that his tomb has been found in Jerusalem.
For an incisive discussion of this archaeological site in Jerusalem, see Gli Scavi del Dominus Flevit, written by two Roman priests, P.B. Bagetti and J.T. Milik, both of whom were scholars of some renown concerning the Middle East in the middle part of the last century. They claim that this site, located on the grounds of a Franciscan monastery in Jerusalem, is the real tomb of Peter the Apostle is well-supported. The ossuary containing the bones bore the inscription in Aramaic "Simon bar Jona", and was found in a Christian burial ground dating from around 70 AD. The inscription has been dated by epigraphists as having been produced just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Roman general Titus.
No wonder the Pope ordered that this be kept quiet...
For more info on this burial site, and pictures of the ossuary you can visit the following site:
[note: we are not affliated with this site, nor do we support it all of its teachings].
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