Pope Francis seemingly performed a "half-miracle" over the weekend when he kissed a relic containing the dried blood of St. Januarius, and partially liquefied it.
St. Januarius — also known as St. Gennaro, bishop of Naples — was martyred during the persecution of Christians, but his blood was eventually collected and saved in a flask to keep as devotional items, according to Aleteia.org
While the blood of the saint reportedly liquefies at least three times a year, the Catholic Herald reported
that it has not done so in front of a pope since 1848. That is, until Saturday, when Pope Francis kissed the relic that holds the blood during his trip to Naples.
"The blood has half-liquefied, which shows that St. Januarius loves our pope and Naples," Archbishop of Naples Crescenzio Sepe told the crowd during the pope's visit, according to Agence France-Presse.
Later, Pope Francis quipped, "The bishop just announced that the blood half-liquefied. We can see the saint only half loves us. We must all spread the word, so that he loves us more."
The Vatican Insider wrote that the before handling St. Januarius' blood,
the pontiff departed from his prepared remarks and spoke "off the cuff" to address subjects ranging from love of the church to condemning "the attachment to money displayed by some priests."
"You cannot love Jesus without loving his Church," Pope Francis said. "The church exists in order to bring Jesus to the people . . . We need to start from Jesus and Mary, the gossip."
The pope called "wheeling and dealing in the church" and the "terrorism of gossip" an "ugly" thing.
He also condemned "worldliness" and such luxuries as "spending too much time in front of television."
"These are the things that lead us to a worldly spirit," Pope Francis said. "And this brings me onto the other point I wanted to make. Worldliness is dangerous, living a worldly life, living in a spirit of worldliness that Jesus did not want."
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