Archive for the ‘Christianity Death Cult’ Category


Why Is Christian America Supporting Donald Trump?

John Fea teaches American history at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He is the author of the new book, Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump (Eerdmans Publishing, June 2018).

 

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A week ago Sunday, June 24, 2018, First Baptist Church of Dallas held its annual “Freedom Sunday.” The church website described the special service this way: “Celebrate our freedom as Americans and our freedom in Christ with patriotic worship and a special message from Dr. Robert Jeffress, “America is a Christian Nation.”

Not everyone in Dallas was happy about it. Robert Wilonsky, an opinion writer at the Dallas Morning News, wrote that Jeffress and the First Baptist Church were “divisive” for claiming that America was a Christian nation. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings agreed. Atheists protested. Eventually, the billboard company contracting with the church removed signs advertising Freedom Sunday.

This, of course, did not stop the service from going forward. The people of First Baptist Church spent the morning of the 24th waving American flags, wearing red, white, and blue shirts, singing the Star-Spangled Banner, and celebrating the United States military. Vice-president Mike Pence sent a letter of encouragement.

Was this a religious service or a celebration of nationalism? What was the object of the congregation’s worship?

Jeffress has been preaching his “America is a Christian Nation” sermon for a long time. On Sunday he stuck with his usual script. He indicted the “secularists, atheists, and infidels” for “perverting” the Constitution. He chided the federal government’s failure to acknowledge God in the public square. He told his congregation that academics, historians, and teachers have been lying to them about the religious roots of the United States.

Jeffress made one problematic historical reference after another. He made the wildly exaggerated claim that fifty-two of the original fifty-five signers of the Constitution were “orthodox conservative Christians.” He peddled the false notion that the disestablishment clause in the First Amendment was meant to apply solely to Protestant denominations.

Near the end of the sermon, Jeffress suggested that spikes in violence, illegitimate births, divorce, and low SAT scores in America are the direct product of the Supreme Court’s decision to remove prayer and Bible-reading from public schools.

Jeffress concluded the service with an altar call. He asked people to come to the front of the church and profess their faith in Jesus Christ. I am sure Jeffress was sincere in his desire to lead people to Jesus, but after his message it was unclear whether he was inviting them to accept Jesus Christ as Savior or embrace the idea that the United States was founded, and continues to be, a Christian nation. Maybe both.

***

Robert Jeffress is best known as a Fox News religion commentator and one of the first evangelical leaders to support Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. He has called Trump “the most faith-friendly president in history.”

Within two weeks following the announcement of his candidacy, several polls had Trump leading among white evangelical GOP voters. In November 2016, 81% of these evangelicals cast their vote for Donald Trump for President of the United States. The reasons for this are complex, and we probably need to wait a generation or two before historians can begin to make sense of them, but three young sociologists have published a scholarly essay that suggests the most plausible explanation.

Andrew Whitehead of Clemson University, Sam Perry of the University of Oklahoma, and Joseph O. Baker of East Tennessee State University argue that “the more someone believed the United States is—and should be—a Christian nation, the more likely they were to vote for Trump.” They conclude that “no other religious factor influenced support for or against Trump.”

These sociologists found that the average Trump voter believes the federal government should: declare the United States a Christian nation, advocate for Christian values, oppose the “strict separation of church and state,” allow the “display of religious symbols in public spaces,” and return prayer to public schools. Likewise, Trump voters believe that whatever success the United States has had over the years is “part of God’s plan.”

This essay is revealing, and it confirms much of what I have written about since the 2011 release of my Was American Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction. But it does not address why and how Americans have come to believe these things. The answer to that question invites us to think historically.

Ever since the founding of the republic, a significant number of Americans have supposed that the United States is exceptional because it has a special place in God’s unfolding plan for the world. Since the early 17th century founding of the Massachusetts Bay colony by Puritans, evangelicals have relished in their perceived status as God’s new Israel—His chosen people. America, they argued, is in a covenant relationship with God. The defenders of this idea like to apply Chronicles 7:14 to the United States: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Though dissenters have always been present, the Christian culture of the United States remained intact well into the 20th century. But since World War II, the moorings of this culture have loosened, and evangelicals have responded with fear that their Christian nation is about to collapse. Robert Jeffress is correct about this.

During the 1960s, the Supreme Court removed prayer and Bible reading from public schools, the federal government cut federal funding to Christian academies and colleges that practiced segregation, the country grew more diverse through immigration, and the sexual revolution threatened evangelical patriarchy and gave women the right to choose to have an abortion.

The fear that America’s Christian civilization was falling apart translated into political action. In the late 1970s, conservative evangelicals such as Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye (the author of the popular Left Behind novels), and a group of politicians who had been closely affiliated with the 1964 Barry Goldwater presidential campaign, developed a political playbook to win back the culture from the forces of secularization. Most of the 81% of American evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 understood, and continue to understand, the relationship between their faith and their politics through this playbook.

This playbook, which would eventual become the culture-war battle plan of the “Religious Right,” was tweaked occasionally over the years to address whatever moral issues seemed most important at the time, but it never lost its focus on “restoring,” “renewing,” and “reclaiming” America for Christ through the pursuit of political power.

When executed properly, the playbook teaches evangelicals to elect the right President and members of Congress who will pass laws privileging evangelical Christian views of the world. These elected officials will then appoint and confirm conservative Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade, defend life in the womb, and uphold religious liberty for those who believe in traditional views of marriage.

The playbook rests firmly on the Religious Right’s understanding of American identity as rooted in its view of the American past. If America was not founded as a Christian nation, the Religious Right’s political agenda collapses or, at the very least, is weakened severely.

To indoctrinate its followers in the dubious claim that America was founded as a Christian nation, the Religious Right has turned to political activists, many of whom claim to be historians, to propagate the idea that the founding fathers of the United States were in the business of building a Christian nation.

The most prominent of these Christian nationalist purveyors of the past is David Barton, the founder of Wallbuilders, an organization in Aledo, Texas that claims to be “dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built—a foundation which, in recent years, has been seriously attacked and undermined.” Barton and Wallbuilders were the source of most of the historical information Jeffress presented in his Freedom Sunday sermon on June 24th.

For the past thirty years, Barton has provided pastors and conservative politicians with inaccurate or misinterpreted facts used to fuel the Religious Right’s nostalgic longings for an American Christian golden age. American historians, including those who teach at the most conservative Christian colleges, have debunked Barton’s use of the past, but he continues to maintain a large following in the evangelical community.

David Barton peddles fake news about the American past. Yet, if Andrew Whitehead, Sam Perry, and Joseph Baker are correct, his work is essential to the success of the Trump presidency in a way that I imagine even Donald Trump and his staff do not fully understand or appreciate.

Trump does not talk very much about America’s supposedly Christian origins. His grasp of history is not very strong. But his evangelical supporters see him as a gift of God—a divinely appointed figure who has emerged on the scene for such a time as this. He is in the White House to preserve God’s covenant with America, to make America Christian again.

The support for the President is a sign of intellectual laziness in the evangelical community. Rather than thinking creatively about how to move forward in hope, Trump evangelicals prefer to respond to cultural change by trying to reclaim a Christian world that is rapidly disappearing, has little chance of ever coming back, and may never have existed in the first place.

The American founding fathers lived in a world that was very different from our own. In the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth century, America was a nation of Christians—mostly Protestants—who put their stamp on the culture.

Yet, amid this Christian culture, the founders differed about the relationship between Christianity and their new nation. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison defended the separation of church and state. John Adams and George Washington also opposed mixing church and state, while at the same time suggesting that Christians, because Christianity taught an ethic of selflessness, could be useful in the creation of a virtuous republic in which citizens sacrificed self-interest for the common good.

The founding fathers believed in God, but most of them did not believe that God inspired the Old and New Testaments or sent His son to die and rise from the dead as the ultimate payment for human sin. The God of the Declaration of Independence is a providential deity who created the world and the people in it, but there is nothing in this important American document that defines this God in terms of the Incarnation or the Trinity.

The United States Constitution never mentions God or Christianity but does forbid religious tests for office. The First Amendment rejects a state-sponsored church and celebrates the free-exercise of religion. This is hardly the kind of stuff by which Christian nations are made. Yet Barton and Jeffress invoke these founders and these documents to defend the idea that the United States was founded as a distinctly Christian nation.

***

If the Christian Right, and by extension the 81% of evangelical voters who use its political playbook, are operating on such a weak historical foundation, why doesn’t someone correct their faulty views and dubious claims?

We do.

We have.

But countering bad history with good history is not as easy as it sounds. David Barton and his fellow Christian nationalist purveyors of the past are well-funded by Christian conservatives who know that the views of the past they are peddling serve their political agenda. Barton has demonized Christian intellectuals and historians as sheep in wolves’ clothing. They may call themselves Christians on Sunday morning, but, according to Barton, their “world view” has been shaped by the secular universities where they earned their Ph.Ds. Thanks to Barton, many conservative evangelicals do not trust academic and professional historians—even academic and professional historians with whom they share a pew on Sunday mornings.

I know this first-hand from some of the negative emails and course evaluation forms I received after teaching a Sunday School course on the history of religion and politics at the Evangelical Free Church congregation where my family worship every Sunday. Because I was a college history professor—even a college history professor at a Christian college with strong evangelical roots—I could not be trusted.

What David Barton does not understand is that there are hundreds of evangelical historians who see their work as part of their Christian identity and vocation. These historians are women and men who pursue truth about the past wherever it leads. This pursuit of truth is a deeply Christian pursuit, as is the case with all efforts to distinguish truth from error.

When people like David Barton cherry-pick from the past to promote political agendas, they do a disservice to the past, fail to treat it with integrity, and ultimately harm their Christian witness in the world. They make evangelicals look foolish. This is not what Paul described in 1 Corinthians 1:18 as the “foolishness of the cross,” it is just good old-fashioned foolishness. It is a product of what evangelical historian Mark Noll has described as the “Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.”

Many of us engaged in trying to bring good history to the evangelical church need the support of Christians who are concerned about the direction Donald Trump, the Christian Right, and the pseudo-historians who prop-up their political agenda are trying to take the country and the church. Good history is complex. It is nuanced. And it is an essential part of truly worshipping God with our minds (Luke 10:27). Unfortunately, complexity, nuance, and intellectual discipleship are not the kinds of subjects that inspire Christians to dig into their pocketbooks.

What would it take to fund evangelical historians to travel to receptive churches around the country and spend some concentrated time teaching American religious history, and American history more broadly, to lay men and women? Perhaps such visits could also include times of worship and prayer?

It is unlikely that such an effort would reach the Robert Jeffress’ of the world. but there are many evangelicals who are open and willing to listen and learn. This was another lesson I took away from my Sunday School class. In fact, the criticism I received paled in comparison with the positive comments I got from those who had never heard a fellow evangelical offer a different, more accurate, view of American history.

American evangelical political engagement is built on a very weak historical foundation. It is time that Christian philanthropists, motivated by an entrepreneurial spirit informed by the pursuit of truth and a concern for the testimony of the Gospel in the world, take the long view and invest in responsible Christian thinking about the American past. The American republic, and more importantly, the witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, depends on it.

 

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Christianity Is A Sick Death Cult

Christopher Hitchens
Christianity is often criticised as a death cult, with its preoccupation with suffering, torture, death, relics (human remains) and hell. Its most central doctrines concern the torture and death of a man-god, and Roman Catholics still purport to eat his (real) flesh and drink his (real) blood. Its main emblem, the cross, worshipped like a holy saint, is an instrument of torture and death.

In churches around Europe you can find the miraculously preserved miracle-working relics of thousands of Christian martyrs and other saints. At least that is what devout Christians will tell you. According to many Christians, saints’ bodies do not decay like ordinary human bodies. They miraculous stay fresh and sweet indefinitely. One of the most curious aspects of this is that all of the remains shown off as “perfectly preserved” are at best mummified, and more often decomposed. Many of these “perfectly preserved” remains are skeletons with padded cloths, furnished with shoes, gloves and face masks.

St Theodosius, Basilica of Waldsassen

On Catholic websites you can easily find accounts of these perfectly preserved remains, moving, smiling and requiring regular attention for their hair and nails which continue to grow.

The Second Council of Nicaea in 787 decreed that every altar should contain a relic, and this requirement remains part of Church Law, in Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Detractors say that these relics – often but not always the remains of dead people – are one of the main manifestations of necrophiliac practices, which appeal to a disturbingly large number of Christians. Dressing up dead bodies in gold and jewels and putting them on public display seems as best macabre, and at worst confirmation that Christianity is a cult of death with disturbing sexual overtones, evidenced by the strangely excited states of some devotees. Other Christian devotees even pay the dead-bodies money to do supernatural favours for them.

One of the more disturbing aspects of the cult of saints is the dismemberment of bodies for the members to be preserved or sometimes eaten by the devout. When Bishop Hugh of Lincoln chewed on a bone of Mary Magdelene preserved at Fecamp he was challenged by the guardians of the precious relic, and defended his action by saying that if he could eat Christ’s body [in the Catholic mass] then he could certainly chew on the Magdalen’s arm.

Devout and noble people often had their hearts removed after death, and those who cut them out often noted that these hearts had pictures engraved upon them, generally representing the things most dear to them in life. Sadly none of these pictures have survived on the perfectly preserved hearts of any of the saints, for whom this miracle was claimed. (So our only surviving reminder of the phenomenon is the often quoted claim of Bloody Mary that the word “Calais” would be found written on her heart after her death.

The question of whether relics have ever worked properly attested miracles is covered at Miracles, Revelation & Faith, but it is worth noting where many relics come from.

According to the Catholic Church many came from the Christian catacombs under Rome, and this is true as far as it goes. The Roman catacombs had been abandoned as burial sites and largely forgotten by the sixth century. They were rediscovered in 1578 by vineyard workers. This looked like a God-send as the Catholic Church was engaged in the Counter-Reformation and keen to promote the cult of relics. One of the areas of concern of the Council of Trent was affirming the efficacy and belief in relics against attacks by Protestant detractors. The bones in the catacombs were a treasure trove. The remains in the catacombs dated from the second to fifth centuries AD so it was possible, for Churchmen to imagine the bones as belonging to famous early Christian saints and martyrs. They correctly saw the cache of bones as the perfect tool to promote their power and wealth. The bones were removed, sold to willing buyers, dressed in gold, silver and jewels, and put on public display to attract the faithful.

Skull Cathedral in Otranto

What the Church is more reticent about is how we know whose remains they are. There was no way of knowing if they belonged to Christians or to pagans who had not been cremated (some but not all pagans were cremated). To find out who the bones belonged to Priests used psychic mediums, or acted as mediums themselves, or even used the services of psychic popes. The practice continued until the mid-19th century.

Churches in the German-speaking Alps, vied to obtain the sanctified skeletons, in mass quantities. The Diocese of Konstanz accumulated 120 of them in the 17th and 18th centuries. The pose and decoration of the bones was left to local churches, who used familiar methods to decide on poses and the extent of decoration – they simply asked the bones, again relying on psychic powers. Priests, nuns and other mediums communed with the bones, and the bones told them how they preferred to be posed and what they would like to wear. At St Gallen Monastery a team of nuns, prayed over the [second set of] remains of St Pancratius until they were rewarded by details of his preferred articulation, dress and jewels, though he neglected to mention that he had died at the age of 14 and was not, as they thought, a soldier. Sometimes the bones were more compliant. At the Basilica at Waldsassen, according to local records, the skeleton of St Maximus helpfully positioned itself.

For some reason, Catholic writers were reluctant to give specifics about psychically communing with bones in the catacombs, but SI Mahoney, a Catholic priest who left the Church, wrote an account of the process. He said that periodic trips were made to the catacombs, to augment the supply of relics. No one knew the identity of the skeletons, or even if the skeletons were those of Christians – hence the need for psychic communications.

Bone Monstrance, The Sedlec Ossuary (Czech: Kostnice v Sedlci) a Roman Catholic chapel, beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic.

A monstrance or ostensorium is a vessel used in Roman Catholic churches to display the consecrated Eucharistic host, during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Mahoney mentions that Pope Gregory XVI would descend into the catacombs accompanied by priests. There he would invoke the Holy Ghost, and read a prayer, “by which Divine assistance, and directions from on high, is sought for the performance of this… solemn duty. The Pope then casts his eyes around the confused mass of mouldering skeletons, and, as the whim may take him, calls this the body of saint such-a-one, another, the body of ‘Virgin some-other-one’ – and so on, till he is warned by his attendants that enough are now baptized… to serve for the present occasion. The rotten bones are then carefully collected, and, having been sprinkled with holy water, are placed in a chest prepared for that purpose, and carried in procession to the Vatican.” [SI Mahoney, Six Years in the Monasteries of Italy, and Two Years in the Islands of the Mediterranean and in Asia Minor, New York, 1836, pp261-262.]. Such exercises were immensely profitable, as the holy relics were then sold to the devout rich.

The psychic abilities of priests and popes were not always reliable. They identified bones as belonging to Christians they had heard of, but who had died and been buried elsewhere, or whose miracle-working skeletons were already being venerated, sometimes in several different places. Constantine the Great, for example, was buried in Constantinople, yet the bones of his second body were identified in the catacombs and are now working their miracles in Rott-am-Inn, a parochial church in Germany. The Church of St Nicholas in Wil in Switzerland, possesses skeleton of the third-century martyr St Pancratius, taken from the catacombs in the 17th century, even though the saint’s relics were already in the Basilica San Pancratio in Rome. The remains of St Deodatus declared their identity to a papal secretary in 1688, even though he had several other dead bodies already being venerated and working miracles elsewhere in Italy.

Perfectly preserved saintly bodies are becoming ever less accessible to the public, and even to the faithful. They can still be seen in a few traditionalist areas of Europe, most notably at the Papal Basilica of Waldsassen (Stiftsbasilika Waldsassen) – though it is notable that such locations have ceased to be widely advertised.

Mummy at Santa Maria della Grazie, Comiso, Sicily
By kind permission © Paul Koudounaris http://empiredelamort.com/

The Catholic Church is still keen on the cult of the dead, celebrated at the beginning of November in pre-Christian times. According to the current Catholic Enchiridion of Indulgences, one can apply a plenary indulgence to a departed soul by the “visitation of a cemetery” from November 1st to the 8th.:

13. Visit to a Cemetery (Coemeterii visitatio)

An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed.

The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.

Most of this website is closely reasoned, but for the rest of this page, the pictures can speak for themselves. Catholics are encouraged to visit and venerate not just ordinary graves, but dead bodies and dismembered body parts.

Saint Ambrose, Milan – not quite perfectly preserved despite his great holiness

The perfectly preserved remains of St Francis Xavier in Goa in 2004
(The body is rumoured to be that of a Buddhist Monk dressed up,
Francis Xavier’s body having been buried as sea)
No DNA tests to establish the truth have been permitted

The perfectly preserved remains of St Francis Xavier in Goa
(His missing toes were bitten off by enthusiastic Christian pilgrims)

Chapel of Bones. Royal Church of St. Francis. Portugal

St Wenceslas at the Basilica in Stara Bolesav, outside Prague

Christians offer money to skulls to answer their prayers
The Sedlec Ossuary beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic.
By kind permission © Paul Koudounaris http://empiredelamort.com/

Painted Skulls. Hallstatt Ossuary. Hallstatt, Austria

St Maximus, Basilica of Waldsassen

Chiesa dei Morti, Urbino, Italy

The body of Pope Celestine V – his badly decomposed state concealed by gloves and a wax mask

Pope Celestine V again – note the wax mask and badly stuffed papal glove.

St Clemens, Church of SS Peter and Paul, Rott-am-Inn, Germany

The conveniently labelled and miraculously preserved skull of one of the many saints called St Valentine

The remains of John Neumann inside the glass altar of St. Peter of the Apostle Church in Philadelphia, USA
His skull is covered with a face mask. Evidently he is regarded as a suitable playmate for young children.

Monastery of Santa Maria della Concezione. Rome, Italy
By kind permission © Paul Koudounaris http://empiredelamort.com/

Another death cult – this is supposed to be the Skull of St Mary Magdelen
kept at La Sainte Baume, Diocese of Frejus-Toulon, Southern France.
It attracts thousands of pilgrims each year, and is sometimes taken on world tours

The Death mask of Martin Luther along with casts of his hands. Lutherans and other protestants do not recognise the veration of relics, so these gruesome artefacts are kept in a museum, not a Church.

The Ossuary of St. James’ Church. Brno, Czech Republic

The body of Cardinal Schuster in the Duomo, Milan

The perfectly preserved bodies of two virgins
Chapel of the Virgins, Monastery of Santa Maria della Pace, Palermo

The perfectly preserved hand of St James, kept in St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Marlow, England

These skeletons were recovered from the Roman catacombs, and identified as Christian martyrs by psychic Roman Catholic priests – and so might well not even be the skeletons of Christians at all
Basilica of Waldsassen

The perfectly preserved remains of Pope Paul XXIII
His skull is fitted with a wax mask

The Dead Lovers by Matthias Grünewald (1470 – 1528)

St Theodosius, Basilica of Waldsassen

Relics of St. Theodore of Tyro (known as St. Theodore of Amasea in the West)
Brindisi Greek Orthodox Church dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra.

The Czermna Skull Chapel.
It is situated in Klodzko County, near Kudowa Zdrój, in the Lower Silesia, Poland.

The Sedlec Ossuary (Czech: Kostnice v Sedlci) a Roman Catholic chapel, beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic.

The Sedlec Ossuary (Czech: Kostnice v Sedlci) a Roman Catholic chapel, beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic.

Schwarzenberg Coat-of-Arms. The Sedlec Ossuary (Czech: Kostnice v Sedlci) a Roman Catholic chapel, beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic.

The Sedlec Ossuary (Czech: Kostnice v Sedlci) a Roman Catholic chapel, beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic.

Ossuary chapel (Capela dos Ossos), Campo Maior, Portugal
By kind permission © Paul Koudounaris http://empiredelamort.com/

Chiesa di San Bernardino alle Ossa

Ossuary (Osario), Custoza, Italy
By kind permission © Paul Koudounaris http://empiredelamort.com/

The skull of Pope Pius X, covered with a face mask

Teresa of Avila was cut into pieces by priests and bishops.
Here two nuns kiss her hand, preserved as a miracle-working relic.

The wax figure of St Victoria under the St Margaret Mary Altar at St. Mary’s Church in Kilkenny City, Ireland

Charnel house (Beinhaus = “bone-house”), Leuk, Switzerland)
By kind permission © Paul Koudounaris http://empiredelamort.com/

Family group in the catacombs,Santa Maria della Pace, Palermo, Sicily
Readers with stronger stomachs than the webmaster can look up the name “Rosalia Lombardo”
on Google for more about the death-cult at Santa Maria della Pace
By kind permission © Paul Koudounaris http://empiredelamort.com

Paris Catacombs
By kind permission © Paul Koudounaris http://empiredelamort.com

Mummy Chiesa dei Morti (Church of Death), Urbania, Italy
By kind permission © Paul Koudounaris http://empiredelamort.com

The remains of Pope Pius IX (d 1878) – acclaimed by the Church as being “almost perfectly conserved”

Saint Valerius, Weyarn, Germany
By kind permission © Paul Koudounaris http://empiredelamort.com

The body of the (fictitious) Saint Celia (or Celia) was so well preserved that it has been replaced by replicas. One is in plain marble, by Stefano Moderno (1599) in the Church of St. Cecilia, Trastevere, Rome.
The other, a polychrome replica, is shown below.

St Pancratius, Church of St Nicholas in Wil, Switzerland.
you can see his perfectly preserved body within his specially designed armour

Bible illustration by Gustave Dore, The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

The Transi de René de Chalon, ou Monument du cœur (Monument of the Heart), a sculpture by Ligier Richier, carved around 1547. Today in the Church of Saint-Étienne de Bar-le-Duc

The perfectly preserved relics of Saint Anthony of Padua,
displayed in the Relics Chapel of the Basilica in Padua, Italy

Relics in the Church of St. Anselmo, Nin, Croatia. Less impressive relics are often kept in gold and silver containers shaped like the part of the saint’s body they allegedly contain

St Therese’s relics on tour in Britain,
being venerated in Westminster Cathedral, London, in October 2009

An example of Catholic “art”

Chiesa dei Morti, Urbino, Italy

Sacrifical and bleeding lambs are also popular

The perfectly preserved “Holy Right” hand of King Stephen I, St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, Hungary

Saint Philip Neri, Chiesa Nuova, Rome

One of the many miraculously preserved heads of St. John the Baptist
This one is kept in the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens

Santa Muerte Pieta

St. Valentin (Bad Schussenried, Germany)

The Kiss of Death Statue at the Old Graveyard of Poblenou in Barcelona

Saint Vincent de Paul, Chapelle Saint-Vincent-de-Paul (Paris, 6ème arrondissement)

Mourning Jesus, or mourning a normal family life?

St. Valentinus (Waldsassen, Germany)

St. Benedictus (Berg am Laim, Munich, Germany)

St. Deodatus (Rheinau, Swizterland)

St. Albertus (Burgrain, Germany)

St. Valerius (Weyarn, Germany)

St. Felix (Gars am Inn, Germany)

St. Vincentus (Stams, Austria)

St. Deodatus (Roggenburg, Germany)

St. Konstantious (Rorschach, Switzerland)

St. Maximus (Bürglen, Switzerland)

Familia de esqueletos (Family of Skeletons), c. 1800,
José López Enguídanos (Valencia, 1760 – Madrid, 1812)

Perfectly preserved nun?