Monday, August 7, 2006

Archaeologist's work may make case for 'Georgia martyrs'

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Are these the relics of a prospective saint, or just the bones of another
sinner? Time — along with some forensic investigation, a little DNA analysis and some luck — may tell.

A half-century after the skull was unearthed at the site of a former Spanish mission near Darien, and 20 years after the Diocese of Savannah proposed beatification for the "Georgia martyrs," science and religion have found a common bond in their curiosity about the weathered remains.

"Without any living relatives, there is little chance of being very definitive about the identity," says Stojanowski. "But there are some tests that can narrow the possibilities."

That prospect has persuaded Harkins, historian at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and the official "vice postulator" for the Cause of the Georgia Martyrs, to spend a little of the faithful's money on a scientific long shot.

"The case for beatification of the Georgia martyrs is a historical one, and it will be accepted or rejected by the Vatican on the basis of the historical record," Harkins says.