Ask a Priest

Saints who are incorruptible

May 03, 2016

Dear Father,

I was wondering why God chooses some Saints bodies to be “Incorruptible” after they die and not others? I never put any importance on this before because who questions God! But a couple of months back my Parish Priest and I were in conversation about Divine Mercy Devotions, I was trying to convince him to make it a special day for the Parish and I was pushing how St. John Paul 2nd put such an importance on the devotion and what a big part He played in getting the devotion known, and because He is a Saint we should believe in what He said, but my Parish Priest would not listen and I am not going into details with exactly what he said because I believe what he said was blasphemous, but here is the reason for my question. He said that he was more a believer of St.Pope John 23rds work than St. John Paul 2nd. because his body was still in tact and St. John Paul’s wasn’t, in his words “when they went to move his body it fell apart” So Father do you have a theory about why some Saints are choosen and why my Parish Priest would think that our great St. John Paul 2nd. is not worthy to be listened to.

Thank you

Regards Anne

Asked at 02:54 pm on May 03rd 2016

Hi Annemarie, there’s a famous discussion in Russian writer Dostoevsky’s last and greatest novel, The Brothers Karamazov, where the young Alyosha is shocked when the holy monk Zosima’s body corrupts immediately after Zosima has died. What another monk points out to him is that it’s no part of Orthodox (nor of course of Catholic) belief that a miracle like incorruption should happen when a saintly person dies.

I’d be disappointed if your Parish Priest took incorruption as some kind of miraculous test of whether a saint should be awarded a gold, silver, or bronze medal in the Heavenly Olympics. I don’t think there’s any need to grade saints – each one is incomparable, as each one of us is incomparable. St John XXIII fully corresponded with all his own gifts to what God wanted of him, as St John Paul II did in his time. The reason the wonderful Pope John Paul I took that unusual step of combining St John XXIII’s name with Blessed Paul VI’s name was to indicate how he wanted to continue developing their quite different legacies to the Church, and I think St John Paul II wanted to do exactly the same.

It’s not for me to get into the particular situation between you and your Parish Priest, but I’d be inclined to leave it up to him whether or not to have Divine Mercy Devotions in your parish – you’d be surprised just how many people approach parish priests wanting devotions of various kinds adopted in the parish, and sounds like you got him on a bad hair day. I’m sure you’ll be able to find a parish not too far away that does have those devotions. Very best, Fr Brendan

Replied at 05:32 am on May 05th 2016

Dear Father Brendan and Annemarie,

If the question of Divine Mercy devotions is about Divine Mercy Sunday, please read this article from the website:

We have to remember that Jesus said that the Feast of Divine Mercy was “especially” for poor sinners. Although we are all sinners, I believe that Jesus was speaking of people who have lost their faith. We need to help these people come back. We should be using Divine Mercy Sunday for evangelization.


Replied at 11:44 am on May 09th 2016