Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “Behind the Walls III:”
Perhaps the most unusual job in the Vatican—a job that very few people ever hear of—is performed in a high- ceilinged room in the Apostolic Palace. The room is lined with shelves and drawers containing ashes, slivers of bones, and other remains of early saints and martyrs. Under an electric lamp in one corner of this strange chamber, the world’s most macabre library, sits a Vatican officer surrounded with tiny boxes and envelopes addressed to all parts of the globe. These are for the purpose of conveying saintly relics. According to canon law, a relic must be enclosed in every altar of every church. Because churches are inaugurated each week, and an authentic relic is required for each new altar, the librarian is constantly busy filling envelopes with pinches of dust. The envelopes are sent out as registered letters.