extraction of body parts as relics

Question from Marc C. on 11/5/2007:

Dear EWTN:

I have no reservations about the idea of relics, particularly that of bodies of saints that are incorrupt. I consider the incorrupt body of a holy person to be a miracle. One thing I struggle with, however, is the practice of extracting certain body parts as relics. It would seem to me that bodily dismemberment does not show respect for the dead. Furthermore, why not keep the entire incorrupt body intact if it should be venerated? Can you define and explain the Church's position on this? Thank you.

Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 11/6/2007:

Marc, I opine that it is mostly inconvenience that dictates to the Church this practice of venerating parts of the body of a saint or venerable person. Obviously it is much easier to move and honor a small part of a large body, to preserve it on a holy altar, etc. Fr. Bob Levis

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