Indian Catholic Matters was asked to investigate a recent image of the remains of St. Anthony in Canada being circulated on Whatsapp and other SM platforms; and asking people to pray and pass it around. The brief to us was to determine whether this message was fake. The image showed the remains of St. Anthony of Padua displayed in a glass case supposedly in Canada during October, this year.
India has a strong following of St. Anthony and there are several churches and shrines dedicated to the the 13th Century saint.
In its endeavour to address fake Catholic content and following up our Holy Father Pope Francis’ advice on using Social Media responsibly, Indian Catholic Matters did investigate a bit and with a help of reverse image engineering; this is what we came up with.
A Google reverse image search reveals that the image is direct lift from a February 2010 article published in the online version of the Daily Mail. Therefore, the Whatsapp message does not appear to be genuine.
Moreover, there’s a huge difference between remains and relics. It is indeed a fact that the relics (not the remains) of the saint travelled to Canada and USA, but that was in June 2017 timeframe and not October. Two relics of Saint Anthony (not the image of the remains forwarded in the Whatsapp group) are currently in the Boston area in Massachusetts and not in Canada. The October visit links are attested here.
However, the relics did visit Canada in June 2017 and not in October 2017 as the message that accompanied the Whatsapp image mentioned. One of the images of the relics that travelled to Canada and is currently in Boston is enclosed. The links to the Canada visit are attested here.
The Whatsapp forward was wrong in telling people that the remains are being taken around in Canada in the month of October 2017.
What was intriguing was that to pass off an image of the saint which was on display in a glass case on February 15, 2010 in Italy as the relics currently traveling to different parts of USA and Canada.
The 2010 display in Padua marked the feast of the transfer of St Anthony, also known as the ‘feast of the tongue’. That event commemorated the first time his remains were moved in 1263, under the direction of St Bonaventure, and the final transfer to Relics Chapel of Padua’s Basilica on February 15 1350.
Anthony’s relics were last displayed in 1981, marking the 750th anniversary of his death. He is one of the ‘quickest’ saints in the history of the Catholic Church as he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX less than one year after he died.
Today he is one of the most famous saints and is often called upon by Catholics to help find lost possessions. He is also remembered as the namesake for the city of San Antonio, Texas; Spanish explorers in the area stopped there on his feast day (June 13) and named the river and settlement after him.
Indian Catholic Matters is at the forefront in bringing about awareness on the dangers of taking SM content seriously. Most SM content are from non-authoritative sources and invariably with a malicious intent. It would do our community a great service if we could verify before forwarding or posting.
Come, let’s nip fake Catholic content in the bud. If you doubt the veracity of Catholic content, all you need to do is send us material, images, video, links to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Fake Catholic Content Busters channel on our site.
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