new form of illicit Web commerce - e simony.
"This is frightening," relic expert Tom Serafin said of this high-tech commission of an old style sin. "When I first noticed it on a privately run website, I tried to educate the individuals on Canon Law, but I met a lot of resistance, I knew it was only a matter of time before an electronic Dark Ages II would begin."
What Serafin calls "e-simony" - trafficking relics through Internet auction houses - has been going on for a little over a year, he said; now, relics some of the hottest items auctioned on Internet sites. ..."The problem is, people keep finding ways around the rules," Serafin said.
For example, last month a first-class relic of St.Pius X went for $197.50 - or to be more exact, "the reliquary is being auctioned," the seller advertised.
"That's moronic," said Serafin. "It is a violation of Canon Law, of natural law, and it's a sin. The seller is putting his own soul at risk."
... Serafin said he's horrified. " The True Cross is the instrument of Jesus' passion," he said," and it's being bought and sold for profit."