Hierophanic objects easily morph into fetishism. In its desire for proof and validation of the sacred the Catholic Church has huge fetishization like behaviors for remains of “saints” –> i. e. fingers, heads, hair, arms, legs, blood, St. Anthony’s jawbone, St. Nicholas’ rib, and entire bodies. The Catholic Church has a thanatophilic fascination with corpses and an eerie ghoulish display of relics. That is, souvenirs of preserved flesh, bodily remains, skeletons, and other bones. It is a preservation that is similar to the Egyptian fascination with mummification. I view the Catholic eucharist as a cannibalistic, vampirous, and ritualistic ceremonial feast of eating dead flesh (bread) and drinking blood (wine). How crazy is that? In Paradise Lost, Adam tries to atone for the sins he has committed, by offering to build an altar to please God. John Milton wisely has the Angel Michael tell Adam to not build the altar because building the altar will lead to idolatry. The interpretation is that Adam doesn’t need to build physical objects (hierophanic appearance) to connect with the presence of god. Martin Luther profoundly denounced the embellishment, idolization, and adornment of materialistic objects in the worship of God. I maintain hierophanics is also seen in corporeal self-mortification via ascetia as an attempt to physically get closer to God.
I have some admiration for Pope Francis I. He has brought some enlightened thinking to the papacy and a greater tolerance towards human frailties, imperfections, and failings. Time will tell, but in some ways his papacy may be transformative. However, I was shocked by a March 2017, article where he encouraged priests to pursue an exorcist for church members they felt were possessed by the devil. In the year 2017, to give legitimacy to an ancient practice of casting out demons is abhorrent to me. I criticize his apparent tendency towards those shenanigan fetishistic needs of proof. That crazy old man carrying around nine fragment bones that he said were St. Peters (Dec. 2013) made him look silly; I was embarrassed for him. Just observing that fetish-like spectacle seemed extra- ordinarily foolish. Who cares if they are the bones of St. Peter? What would it matter if they were, or were not St. Peter’s bones? Would St. Peter’s bones get us closer to the essence and presence of truth/Truth? I also object to his rapid movement towards the sainthood of John XXIII, John-Paul II, and Mother Theresa. Mother Theresa actually had 50 years of doubts related to her faith and even the very existence of a God. Beatification and canonization are mere hierophanic adorational proofs of My God and My Church being better than your God and your church. Hopefully, someday an enlightened Catholicism will have a maturity that moves towards an abolition and divestiture of hierophanic proofs of the divine —> don’t hold your breath.