Sale of saint relics on eBay sparks Catholic outcry and petition

Saints relics on e-Bay? A first class relic of the bone of a saint, still in its wax-sealed reliquary, was listed for sale for $3,600. “The listing was crass enough to even describe the relic as ‘ex ossibus,’ a Latin term meaning ‘from the bones,’” Ryan Scheel, who was shopping for a rosary says. He has started a petition to prevent the continuation of this practice.

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.


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