13 June 2012

Calcata: Home to the Holy Prepuce

Circumcision by David Gollaher, 2000, Excerpts

According to legends of the village of Calcata, in 1527 a soldier in the German army sacking of Rome looted the Sancta Sanctorum; when he was eventually captured in the village he hid the jeweled reliquary containing the Holy Prepuce in his cell, where it was discovered in 1557 and officially venerated by the Church since that time, offering a ten year indulgence to pilgrims. Calcata thus became a popular site for pilgramage.

At some point, however, the relic went missing, and remained lost until 1856 when a workman repairing the abbey of Charoux claimed to have found a reliquary hidden inside a wall, containing the missing foreskin. The rediscovery, however, led to a theological clash with the established Holy Prepuce of Calcata, which had been officially venerated by the Church for hundreds of years; in, the chruch solved the dilemma by ruling that anyone thenceforward writing or speaking of the Holy Prepuce would be excomnunicated. In 1594, after much debate, the punishment was changed to the harsher degree of excommunication, vitandi (shunned); and the Second Vatican Council later removed the Day of the Holy Circumcism from the church calendar.

Nevertheless, the village continued to stage an annual procession on the Day of the Holy Circumcism to honor the relic. In 1983, however, parish priest Dario Magnoni announced that “This year, the holy relic will not be exposed to the devotion of the faithful. It has vanished. Sacrilegious thieve have taken it from my home”, where it had reportedly been kept in a shoebox in the back of a wardrobe. Citing the Vatican’s decre of excommunication, Magmomi refuses to further discuss the event, as does the Vatican. As a result, villager’ theories of the crime vary from theft for lucrative resale to an effort by the Vatican to quietly put an end to the practice it had attempted to end by excommunication years ago; some going so far as to speculate that Magnoni himself may have been the culprit.

Fore Shame, Did the Vatican Steal Jesus’ Foreskin
19 Dec 2006


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