The postulator of the cause for beatification of Pope John Paul II has clarified that free prayer cards accompanied by a piece of the late Pope's cassock, are not part of a publicity stunt nor are they for sale, despite some media reports to the contrary.
Father Slawomir Oder, told Vatican Radio that the distribution of the holy cards was part of the process of beatification. He said the inclusion of a piece of the Holy Father’s cassock is a “completely normal part of the Church’s praxis.” Those who wish to do so can make a voluntary contribution to help with the expenses of creating the holy cards, he noted.
Asked if the pieces of cassock should be considered relics, Father Oder explained that normally relics are items that belonged to the saints, that is, to persons who have been beatified or canonized by the Church. “In this case,” he clarified, “we are still in the course of a process [for canonization], and thus these pieces of cloth are material elements, they are not properly speaking relics, because they are not something that belongs to someone recognized by the Church as a saint.”
Father Oder denied that the motive behind the prayer cards was to raise money, as some reporters have suggested. “This is far from our mentality and we regret that some reporters have used this opportunity,” he said.
“The main thing is to simply respond to a request by the people of God, who desire to have this memory, because it is a physical memory of the Holy Father, who has profoundly marked history and our hearts. It’s something very natural that the person who loves him, as one who loves dear person, wants to have a momento and this is meaning of the initiative,” Father Oder said.
More information about John Paul II’s beatification can be found at:
The prayer cards can be obtained by writing to: [email protected]