Thursday, August 22, 2013

Catholics: Save these Relics!


  1. I am 90% sure that those relics are fakes since the ones with certificates have this signature:

  2. There are lots of fake relics on EBAY. Buyer beware!

  3. I agree about the fakes-- how is it, for example, that someone
    is selling relics of St. Edith Stein, when she was killed in a
    concentration camp and her body incinerated?

    And for those relics that might be genuine-- who on earth would
    sell them to the highest bidder, giving something so precious over
    to strangers, sight unseen? I presume these relics were property
    of religious institutions and parishes-- what person of faith would
    choose to sell rather than give them to another Catholic institution?

    1. I bought one and gave it to a Catholic Church.

  4. Many of the relics reaching eBay and other websites come from the Church. Religious orders, contrary to Canon Law, sell many of their relics to raise money to support their work. Also, when a convent, monastery or church is being closed and liquidated, relics become just another item to be sold. Frequently, when a priest, bishop or other religious passes away, they have made no arrangement for proper disposal of any relics they might have had. They end up being sold to settle the estate of the deceased.
    As mentioned above, there are numerous counterfeiters out there who will gladly sell you a relic of anyone - a feather from the Holy Spirit, a bone from the Virgin Mary, a first class relic of Joan of Arc, etc., as well as fake relics of just about any saint. Criminals are now becoming much more sophisticated and it is becoming increasingly difficult to detect some of the fakes being offered for sale.

  5. I could understand an order/congregation selling off a precious reliquary to support its
    work. Mind you, I'm not thrilled with the practice, but I can see how it might be rationalized.
    But to sell the relics themselves? Appalling. Of course it's contrary to Canon Law,
    and for good reason. Only God knows how many irreplaceable relics have been lost forever
    because of people getting up to this sort of thing...

    If a convent, monastery or church is being closed and liquidated, would they likewise sell
    the Hosts remaining on the altar or the bodies in the cemetery? That relics in their care
    became just another item to be sold off tells me that particular institution had become so
    spiritually bankrupt it's likely a mercy it is now gone, and good riddance.

    I had not thought about the possible fate of relics that are part of the estate of a deceased
    religious (or layman). A sensible, responsible person should make a provision for the relics
    in one's care just as one would make provision for one's dependents. To take relics into
    one's custody without making provision for their future strikes me as irresponsible. But,
    as you point out, Mr. Sonnen, it happens.

    I've seen websites of companies that trade in religious goods where reliquaries are offered
    for sale-- with the understanding that the relics therein are being conveyed gratis with the
    sale of the container. I presume that the necessary documents/authentication is also
    conveyed with the purchase. I recall one site that specifically stated that the owners reserved
    the right to refuse the sale of reliquaries to any party they felt would not provide proper
    custody. Bravo.

    Sadly, eBay is not so principled. I imagine that among all of the bogus relics of St. Edith
    Stein and feathers from the Holy Ghost, there might be some actual relics, now separated
    from their documentation, their provenance lost. How to separate the wheat from the chaff?
    I'm ashamed that actual relics could come to such a fate-- but how could one in good
    conscience purchase a relic from eBay? Without the proper documentation or provenance,
    I'd always be dubious about the relic's authenticity. Furthermore, I dislike the idea of
    encouraging eBay (and the forgers who manufacture 'relics' for sale there) if I purchased
    from them.

    Mr. Sonnen, I respect your desire to save these orphaned relics from being traded on eBay.
    It is shameful that any real relics amongst the trash have been allowed to come to such a
    pass. However, I think it might be best if Catholics refused to do business with such
    unprincipled sites as eBay, and let their traffic in relics wither away.

    I'd include an admonition to any Catholics who might in future turn to eBay and similar
    venues to sell their relics-- surely there are better ways to provide for the relics in one's
    care. However, I'm guessing that anyone sensible enough to be visiting this blog is already
    sensible enough to treat holy things with reverence.