Bad omen? Catholic relic's blood fails to liquify

Has an ancient Catholic relic just given off a bad omen?

That's what some Church faithful believe in Naples, Italy.

Three times a year -- a vial of dried blood said to come from from the city’s patron saint, San Gennaro is put on display.

When it liquifies it is known as the "Miracle of San Gennaro." -- but when it fails, some residents see it as a sign of disaster to come.

On Wednesday (December 16), despite hours of praying, priests said the blood was "rock solid."

Scientists say the substance inside the sealed vial appears to be dried blood but they cannot explain why it sometimes turns into liquid and sometimes does not.

However, it's not the worst scenario: People get particularly nervous if the blood does not liquefy on the saint's feast day, September 19.

The other two days -- occasions in December and May are not seen as being as bad.

On Wednesday the city's cardinal, Crescenzio Sepe, told the faithful not to be overly dismayed either way.

He said, "If something needs to melt, it is the hearts of people."