"The thigh bone connected to the back bone, The back bone connected to the neck bone, The neck bone connected to the head bone, Oh, hear the word of the Lord!"
Suddenly, Pope Benedict XVI seems to be thinking that science is his best friend.
Actually, the Pope has just shown the world that he has no idea how science works. And apparently, he even lacks a grasp of basic logic.
You see, the Pope gleefully announced that some old bones in a sarcophagus have been scientifically tested and shown to be those of St Paul, as the Catholic Church has maintained all along.
As Catholic Online reports:
In his homily, broadcast live on Italian television, the Pope told the faithful that the tomb had been “…subject to a scientific investigation. A small hole was drilled in the sarcophagus, unopened for centuries, and a probe was introduced. It found traces of a valuable purple fabric, in linen and gold layer-laminated, and a blue fabric with linen threads. Red incense grains and substances containing proteins and limestone were also discovered. Small fragments of bone were found and radiocarbon dated by experts who did not know their place of origin. Results indicate that they belong to someone who lived between the 1st and 2nd century A.D. This seems to confirm the unanimous and undisputed tradition according to which these are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul. All this fills our soul with deep emotion.”
What Pope Benedict XVI is actually saying is, “Hey! Check out these old bones that we think belong to St. Paul. We’ve scientifically shown that they could be enough to be St. Paul’s, so, of course, they must be his.”
Of course, experts are skeptical about this claim.
First of all, the bones were dated to the first or second century CE, meaning any time between 1CE and 200 CE. Given that St. Paul is said to have been beheaded around 65CE, there is a greater chance than not that the person those bones belong to died after St. Paul. Secondly, unless St. Paul was the only person alive at the time, how can we be sure that the bones in the sarcophagus are definitely his?
Wishful thinking. That’s how!
Now, you might even think that it’s only reasonable for poor old Pope Benedict to get carried away and fabricate fact where there is none. After all, he has a vested interest in this ‘discovery’ of St. Paul’s bones. But the mental acrobatics needed to arrive at such a conclusion are astounding, to say the least.
And since when have the Pope and the Vatican rushed to uphold a scientific claim, anyway?