Saturday, November 04, 2006

Relic Boycott

More reporters are getting it all wrong again. This time over relics.

WHDH in Boston ran a story about the sale of relics on eBay, but in their attempt for the dramatic, they couldn't get it right.

7 News had no problem finding these items online. Everything from bones to blood and from crosses to clothing, all said to have once belonged to a saint.

Take a look at what we bought on Ebay. At first glance it looks like a regular rosary. You look a little closer, and you'll find a relic attached to it. And it was sold to us by this church here in Cranston, Rhode Island.

The church calls itself Catholic, but it is not recognized by the Vatican.

The relic we bought for $20 claims to be a piece of clothing from a saint. And this wasn't the only relic the church had up for sale.
We wanted to ask the parish pastor why he was going against catholic laws, so we gave father Roger Durand a call.

Phil Lipof on phone:

"We talked to an expert about canon law and they said that's pretty much against canon law to sell a relic."

Father Durand argued there was nothing wrong with selling a relic.

Roger Durand and I disagree on many things. First on his operation of a schismatic church. (See Brian's post on Roger's church) When I checked his e-Bay page, I found numerous items such are holy cards, bells, even a chalice as well as relic medals, and a few empty thecas. Rosaries and medals containing third and fourth degree relics are offered for sale at nearly every Catholic goods and church supply shop in the world. These relics, which are pieces of cloth which have been touched to first, second, and even third degree relics do not have the same canonical restrictions as first and second degree relics.

If Roger Durand was representing that relic as a second degree relic (part of the clothing of a saint) then, he is guilty of misrepresenting the product.

The International Crusade for Holy Relics is encouraging a boycott of eBay in an attempt to get them to ban the sale of relics.

Below is the official press release:

After nearly a decade of battling eBay over the sale of sacred relics, the International Crusade for Holy Relics is calling for a boycott of the online auction house.

"We have exhausted dialogue and negotiations and have decided it is time to deal with eBay in the only language they understand -- money". saind Tom Seraphim, founder and president of the ICHR.

For nearly ten years, the ICHR has obbied eBay to stop the sale of relics and enforce its own rules barring the sale of body parts to no avail.

Even a cursory search of eBay will reveal dozens of relics - often purporting to be the bones of saints - for sale.

The sale of relics is an direct affront to Catholics and other Christians, for whom relics are considered sacred, priceless and spiritual heirlooms. The sale is expressly forbidden by the Canon Law of the Catholic Church. Moreover, many of the relics being sold are of dubious origin, and some have been shown to be outright frauds.

"Our saints should be enjoying their eternal reward in peace, not having thier body partssold like cheap trinkets," Serafin said. "Our heritage and our faith are not for sale. We have decided that a boycott of eBay has become the only option o prevent the repugnant practice of selling our spiritual patrimony."

The ICHR is a coalition with members worldwide that includes members of many denominations including the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican faiths. It is devoted to spotting the sale of relics online and to preserving relics and educating the public about relics and the saints.

Here is a link to the CNS article on the relic sale.

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