What is the history of the veneration of relics? Why do Catholics believe in that?
Fr. Francis' answer:
The veneration of the relics of the saints goes back to Old Testament times. For example, containing in the Ark of the Covenant, besides the two tablets of the Ten Commandments and some of the manna, is also the staff of Aaron which wrought the miracles in Egypt. That rod was used by Aaron and Moses, and so is their relics, and God commanded it to be kept and venerated.
And, in St. Paul’s time, it was reported in the Acts of the Apostles how people would touch St. Paul and be healed. But because not all could get to meet him, they would touch him with handkerchiefs and distribute them, and people would still get healed through touching these handkerchiefs.
“And, during the time the Church was persecuted, many of the martyrs were buried in the catacombs under Rome. Christians would visit them and venerate them. They would celebrate mass on top of their graves, and by befriending these saints through their relics, they received great graces and comfort to testify to their faith.”
And, throughout the last two thousand years, relics of the saints continue to be a source of heavenly blessings on the faithful. They are like physical icons of our heavenly siblings, which open up heaven’s power on those who entrust themselves to God through these saints. Relics are known to be great sources of miraculous healings and a key tool in exorcisms.
The veneration of relics therefore has a long and rich tradition in our Christian faith...