I reached forward and touched the stone – the small slab now set into a wooden altar – the very stone that St David was given in Rome (along with some other kit) when he was made Bishop. He used it as a portable altar throughout his ministry. (I mused that it didn’t look that portable, what with it being a fairly big slab of stone – but was interested nonetheless that I was touching the very stone that St David laid out the bread and wine on some 1500 years ago.
I stood and gazed at the casket proudly displayed at the base of St David’s shrine. In that casket – right there – are fragments of St David’s bones, bones that have dawn pilgrims to this very spot for over a thousand years. I lit a candle as the very first pilgrims would have done, and said a prayer.
Then I visited the cathedral exhibition in the old gatehouse.
The stone: recent tests have shown the the stone is most likely local stone and not from Rome.
The bones: recent tests have shown that the bones are probably 12th or 13th century and at least some of them are from a woman.
I ask myself – does it matter? Does it matter that an untruth has inspired countless thousands to devotion? I want to say no – but I can’t – because it makes me angry – it DOES matter. If we allow people to build faith on what we know to be a lie – then what happens to that faith when the lie is exposed?