The monks exhumed the “saint” because they feared the body could be stolen. His head was cut off, and kept separately.

The skull of Thomas Aquinas is kept for adoration in a Church just outside Rome.

The story of the beautification of Thomas Aquinas is like a greek drama, a real spiritual tragedy.

Some French monks were desperate to secure the bones of the Catholic theologian, and felt his grave was unsafe.

This is what Ralph McInerny has recored in Christian History magazine no. 73

Shortly after Thomas Aquinas died, on March 7, 1274, miracles began to occur near his body. The monks of the Cistercian abbey at Fossanova, where Thomas was buried, feared that the remains might be stolen and taken off to a Dominican resting place.

Jealous of their treasure, the Cistercians took macabre precautions. They “exhumed the corpse of Brother Thomas from its resting place, cut off the head and placed it in a hiding place in a corner of the chapel.” That way, if the corpse were taken, the head would still be theirs. His sister was given a hand, a finger of which was to take a grisly trajectory of its own.The reverent mutilations continued.

By the time the canonization process began in 1319, the corpse had been reduced to bones, from which the flesh had been boiled away. In 1396 the bones were moved to the Dominican monastery at Toulouse. The remains were relocated to the church of St. Sernin during the French Revolution, then returned to the monastery in 1974. They rest there today.

Source:  Christian History.

Lets look at two more pictures:

The skull of Thomas Aquinas is kept above the altar.
The skull of Aquinas is only one of many “Holy items” in this Abbey.

My comment:

You have to be pretty demonized and mad, to be scared that a dead mans bones would be robbed from the grave.

The Dominican monks exhumed the dead Italian teacher, and cut the head off the corpse.  Next, they kept the head away from the rest of the remains, to avoid being robbed of it all.

If someone robbed the bones, the monks would at least have the head, soon to be boiled to become a clean venerable skull.

The boiling part of it, to separate the bones from the dead mans flesh is another story for a horror movie.  But lets leave that part.

Lets rather look what happened to the bones and the skull.

The skull ended up as a “Holy relic” in the Fossonova Abbey outside Rome.

The bones has been kept in the Dominican monastery at Toulouse in France. Lets take a look at the pictures from France:

Roman Catholics in Tolouse parade the bones of the Italian theologian.
The bones of Thomas Aquinas is normally kept under the altar in the Monastry in Tolouse.

While the skull of Thomas Aquinas is kept above the altar in Italy, the bones rest under the altar in France. But the bones are paraded on the annual feast day.

It is difficult to comment on religious madness of this kind.  To rob a grave is bad enough. To cut the head of a corpse, and keep it safe from thief’s is paranoia.

Who were these monks afraid of?

Could the potential robbers, be others than competing demonized Catholic priests?

Who else is able to fight over “holy skulls and bones”?

Since the skull and the bones have been kept in two different nations, we must be puzzled if they ever will be united.

On the final day of Judgment: From where is this man going to surface?

His bones have also been widely distributed. Thousands might have a piece of His bones, sold as first class relics by the bone sellers in the Vatican.

Written by Ivar