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Ryan Scheel was shopping for a rosary on eBay when one listing caught him off guard.

A first class relic of the bone of a saint, still in its wax-sealed reliquary, was listed for sale – to the tune of $3,600.

“The listing was crass enough to even describe the relic as 'ex ossibus,' a Latin term meaning 'from the bones,'” Scheel told CNA e-mail comments.

He decided to further search the online auction site, and found “pages and pages” of other first class relics for sale, violating eBay’s own policy that prohibits the sale of human body parts, other than human scalp hair.

Scheel, who is also the founder and editor of the Catholic resource site uCatholic, said he tried to use eBay’s “Report Item” feature in order to alert the site of the first class relics, but he said the closest option given from the available drop-down list states: “The item in this listing is an artifact, fossil, or relic taken from federal or state public land or Native American land or battlefield.”

Catholic News Agency reached out to eBay for comment on this issue, but did not receive a response by press time.

The listing of first class relics “is incredibly insensitive to the Catholic faith in way I doubt would be tolerated for other religions,” Scheel said.

“But also...common decency should tell eBay that profiting off of the sale of body parts is ghastly and unethical, no matter who the remains belonged to in life.”

That's why Scheel decided to launch a petition calling for eBay to remove the listings of the first class relics. He hopes to obtain signatures from at least 25,000 Catholics in order to alert the site of the illicit sales.

“The sale of Catholic Relics is not only a great and terrible offense against the Catholic faith, it is also explicitly against your very own corporate policy concerning the sale of human body parts and remains,” the petition reads.
 
“As a Catholic, we ask that you remove all current listings of Catholic relics containing the mortal remains of the Saints and actively monitor and prohibit any future listings,” it continues.

Scheel told CNA that it appears that the people listing the relics seem to somehow be bypassing the ban on the sale of human body parts, but on eBay’s part, “the issue here seems like one of enforcement, and hopefully not ill-will or religious insensitivity.”

The policies of eBay technically allow for the sale of second and third class relics, or first class relics of objects such as the cross or the shroud of Turin.

However, Schell said “eBay should also forbid this out of common respect for the Catholic Faith.”

Code of Canon Law 1190 states that it is “absolutely forbidden to sell sacred relics,” whether or not they are human remains.   





Some have argued that what is for sale is the reliquary itself, and not the relic.

However, in the case of many of the first class relics for sale on eBay – some of which are going for thousands of dollars - that seems to not be the case, said JD Flynn, a canon lawyer and director of communications for the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb.

“Here’s what needs to be considered: is the reliquary being sold for a price comparable to that of similar objects which do not contain relics?  If a silver box containing Mother Teresa's eyelashes costs $1,000, and a silver box with no eyelashes costs $100, it’s very difficult to argue that the person is not engaging in the sacrilege of simony,” Flynn told CNA.

Simony is a sacrilegious practice that consists in buying and selling what is spiritual (relics) in return for what is temporal (money). 

In the case of the eBay relics, Flynn said, it may be permissible for Catholics to buy the listed relics in order to protect them from further harm or desecration.

“For example, it would be hard to justify getting into a bidding war with other devout Catholics for a relic, but it would be easy to understand getting into a bidding war for a relic with the owners of some hipster bar that wants relics for decorations,” Flynn said.

“But in such a situation, the merchant is obviously engaged in simony.”

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/s...cry-38519/

Sign the petition to get E-bay to stop selling 1st Class Relics here
I recently "rescued" a 1st class relic off of eBay; I know it's not really recommended, but I spoke with my priest beforehand to make sure the positives outweighed the negatives. I consider myself the caretaker of the 1st class relic, rather than an owner. I plan on sharing the relic with the parish, allowing parishioners to venerate it and perhaps educate others. It's a long story I don't feel like getting into at the moment.

You would be surprised at how many 1st class relics end up not only being sold online, but at pawn shops as well. Many of the relics that have been acquired by the parish over the years were found at pawn shops. It saddens me to realize just how much our society has no respect for such things. Rather than treated with respect, they are sold as if they are some material object that is pleasing to look at or as some sort of objective amusement. Or worse, profaned or desecrated by heathens or satanists.
Gladly I signed the petition.  Thank you for calling this to our attention.  I have used ebay for years, not only do I have a standing item that I make and sell there but I have bought many hard to find Catholic pictures, medals, chaplets, books, etc. there as well. Frankly I am not surprised.  As a long time seller and Catholic I will also write them to complain about it. 
I have a question. Are all relics under this "You must not sell them" admonition, or just certain classes of relics? I frequently see objects that have bits of cloth touched to holy places (third class relics) for sale on very reputable sites. Are only the first and second class relics under this restriction?
(08-15-2016, 02:36 AM)In His Love Wrote: [ -> ]I have a question. Are all relics under this "You must not sell them" admonition, or just certain classes of relics? I frequently see objects that have bits of cloth touched to holy places (third class relics) for sale on very reputable sites. Are only the first and second class relics under this restriction?

I don't think there's a difference based on class.  I've seen prayer cards with a third class relic in a Catholic store, but they were the same price as the other prayer cards.  That being said, I'd assume someone could probably charge for the work it took to "create" the third class relic (time and travel necessary to touch the cloth to the Saint, etc.).
(08-15-2016, 02:36 AM)In His Love Wrote: [ -> ]I have a question. Are all relics under this "You must not sell them" admonition, or just certain classes of relics? I frequently see objects that have bits of cloth touched to holy places (third class relics) for sale on very reputable sites. Are only the first and second class relics under this restriction?

"Third Class Relics" are not really relics, in the true sense of the word.

Most commonly as was mentioned, they are found atttached to holy cards of Saints, Beati or those whose cause for cannonization are open.

It's inappropriate to sell them, but it's not something that necessarily falls under the prohibition of Church Law. It could be sinful if it was the source for disrespect, profiting from the sale or scandal, but it's not the selling of relics per se.
Ahh, okay. That makes sense. Yeah, the people I've seen selling them are very reputable; they sell them in rosaries and the like, charging for the sale of the rosary itself. It just happens to have a relic. Thank you for clearing that up for me!