The following commentary is from the EWTN series, The Papacy: A Living History, The Papal Artifacts Collection of Father Richard Kunst. The relic of the True Cross of Christ was featured in the 5th episode, Popes of the 17th Century and Earlier.
Here is Father’s Commentary:
In this series on the papacy we’ve talked a lot about spirituality and the Eucharist and about these Popes always focusing back to the Eucharist, but you know what I mean, the spirituality of the Popes, just like the rest of us, will take different forms. And some Popes have been really engrossed in things, such as relics. And this artifact is a relic of the True Cross of Christ owned by Pope Clement XI. He was Pope from 1700-1721, just to give you an idea of the time we are referring to.
Of course there are a lot of spurious relics of the True Cross out there. But I’m totally convinced that St. Helena brought back the original true cross. The mother of Constantine traveled to the Holy Land and found the True Cross, and she brought it back to Rome. However, over time, a lot of people have produced fake relics of the cross and pawned them off as real.
The best bet we have of authenticating this one, as a relic of the true cross, is that it was actually owned by the Pope, and he actually prayed with it.
And so what we have here is a relic of the true cross. It’s in a silver case, a very nice silver case. On one side it says, in Latin, “Lignum S. S. Crucis”, meaning it is a portion of the True Cross.