Thursday, February 17, 2005

Tomb of St. Paul Discovered 

I have a certain fascination with the Apostle Paul. I lived through a period of time when I believed some of the analysis which claimed there was a war between Paul and James for control of the early church. I was, at the time, fascinated with the idea. Well, archeologists have now discovered the Tomb of St. Paul.

A second excavation, under the main altar of the basilica, brought the Vatican team to the sarcophagus, which was located on what would have been ground level for the original 4th-century building. Under the altar a marble plaque was still visible, dating back to the 4th century, and bearing the inscription: "Apostle Paul, martyr." Filippi remarks that surprisingly, "Nobody ever thought to look behind that plaque." When the Vatican team looked, they found the sarcophagus. As an archeologist, Giorgio Filippi says that he has no special curiosity to learn whether the remains of St. Paul are still inside that sarcophagus. The tomb should not be opened merely to satisfy curiosity, he insists. There is no doubt, he says, that St. Paul was buried on the site, "because this basilica was the object of pilgrimages by emperors; people from all around the world came to venerate him, having faith that he was present in this basilica."

St. Paul, of course, raised Eutychus from death after he fell, thus my blog-name. I hesitated linking to the article on the two ways of the first century church, but decided to go ahead. I don't want to lead people astray with thoughts I don't believe are true, but perhaps it's a good lesson. I also read a lot about the possibility that John's Gospel might have really by written by Mary Magdalene. In both instances, some discrepancies in the wordings of the New Testament here and there lead people off into the woods. As the Clueless Christian wrote the other day, Jesus didn't write us a Bible, he left that to the Church He founded -- and if you start doubting the truth of the Word, then there is no bottom to your faith. Those doubts are behind me and I hope others who are distracted by the Magdalene or by invented in-fighting among the Apostles realize eventually how groundless such doubts are in the face of the teachings of the Magisterium.

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