One in 100,000

Times: Pope's robe cut up for 100,000 'holy relics'

Fragments of a cassock worn by Pope John Paul II are being offered for sale to the faithful, causing concern in the Vatican over the resurgence in the veneration of relics.

Devotees of John Paul can apply via e-mail, fax or post for fragments of a white cassock to augment their prayers. A cassock worn by John Paul has reportedly been cut into 100,000 pieces to satisfy demand.

The scheme is run by the Vicariate of Rome, which is promoting sainthood for John Paul…

The Vicariate said that it has been overwhelmed by requests for the relics, with priority now being given to those who were praying for the sick or were themselves seriously ill.

I well remember watching stage magician Uri Geller on telly in the 1970s using his so-called psychic powers to mend timepieces over the airwaves. He would tell everyone watching to dig out any broken watches or clocks they had stored away, give them a wind (no battery-powered watches in those days), and concentrate with him as he tried to beam out his psychic energy, or something like that. Then he would practically beg you to phone in if your timepiece (which you had just wound and shaken around in your hands) miraculously started working again.

Even as a kid, I realised that, with several million people watching the programme (only three TV channels and no internet in those days), some timepieces were absolutely bound to start working again—if only for a short time.

The Vicariate of Rome is using exactly the same trickery to obtain vital evidence of a John Paul II miracle: distribute 100,000 holy relics to the desperate and credulous, encourage them to pray to the old sod, and let the Vicariate know if anyone miraculously gets better.

With 100,000 trials and only one success needed to demonstrate a miracle, I'd say the sainthood was in the bag.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. More than simply chance, it's an excellent example of the placebo effect. Many of these people will really believe that JPII was a saint and that these relics can heal them, and as a result in some cases they will.

    Also uses what newspapers have relied on for years - people take much more notice of an anecdotal story they can relate to than to meaningful numbers that they can't.

    It's PR at it's best.

    PS This has the palendromic spam-code GRORG

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