The church never officially declared the bones — which were discovered in the 1940s — authentic. But a series of exhaustive tests conducted on the bones between their discovery and 1968 convinced Pope Paul VI they had been “identified in a way we can hold to be convincing.” Previously, only the box containing the bones was on display.
I can only wonder what sort of tests they performed that made Pope Paul VI say they had been “identified in a way we can hold to be convincing”. That’s the one piece of information that should have been included.
I can’t see that it means anything, in any case. Let’s say they are the bones of the first Pope. Now what?
Lois, you’re missing the true meaning of the “find”. First of all it’s Pope Francis who clutched the sacred box. Who cares if they’re authentic; for all we know they could be the remains of some poor mason’s assistant who took a nasty tumble and died while building St. Pauls and they buried him in the basement. It really doesn’t matter. What does is the publicity and the pope’s relation to it. Let’s face it, church attendance is down, secularism is on the rise and the Catholics need a miracle to pull the faithful back into the fold. And voila! St. Peter shows up to restore the faith. Secondly, as you mentioned, what exhaustive research? Do they have DNA from St. Peter’s relatives? Even if they identified the bones as originating from the first Century what does that prove? So it leaves virtually everything open to speculation, hence a rejuvenation of faith. Pope Francis clutched the bones. That’s the important part of the story. It’s essentially the James oussary all over again.