Holy, holy, hooooly! Merciful and miiiighty. Gooo-od in three perrrsons, Bless-ed Trinity! Yes, we all know the song (if you know it), and we know about the trinity (if you do). But what about Pope colon in two persons, or I mean pieces? Is that also bless-ed? And is it bless-ed enough to not be discarded as medical waste?
Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic church, recently underwent surgery to remove the left side of his colon. Ars longa, colonia brevis, as they say, or at least a bit more brevis than it used to be. The Pope is doing well, according to a Vatican spokesperson, according to the AP; he ate breakfast and read the newspaper. But how is his discarded half of colon?
It is a fact of popedom that you might one day be canonized, i.e. declared an official Catholic saint. (Though the practice of canonizing popes is rarer than it used to be.) The canonization process tends to include transferring one’s relics to a church, with relics categorized as either “first class relics,” body parts, and “second class relics,” used items. The left fibula of St. Peter is held on the Notre Dame campus, for example. St. Clare’s fingernails and hair are kept in the Basilica di Santa Chiara in Assisi, Italy. Basically everyone claims they have Jesus’s foreskin.
So what about the pope’s colon? Does papal law declare it must be saved in case it might one day become a holy relic, or was it discarded as medical waste, like the colon of some wretched, unholy nobody? We reached out to Christopher M. Bellitto, author of 101 Questions & Answers on Popes and the Papacy, to see if he might know.
“No, there is no such church law,” he said. “It will be discarded as medical waste, surely.”
Oh. Okay, thanks.