New Judas, Same Betrayal!
Chev. Thomas J. Serafin, V.V.
Shortly after the establishment of the International Crusade for Holy Relics (ICHRusa) it became apparent that simony on the internet would soon become a territory as out of control and lawless as the wild west. In 1998 the first incident took place of individuals making relics available for what they believed to be a reasonable donation. All in all this was an honest and harmless attempt to make relics available for veneration. It was in late 1998 that relics began to appear on an internet auction house. E-mails from concerned Catholics, Christians, and non-Christians started appearing on a daily basis at the ICHRusa office. The officers of the auction house were notified and educated as to the violations regarding the sale of relics in Canon Law. Relic sellers were contacted when possible and educated as to the Code of Canon Law and made aware of the offensive nature of this practice. An archive was created to record all relic sales and correspondence between the ICHRusa, seller, buyer, auction house (internet), and concerned individuals. It did not take long for a second internet auction house to appear and provide another platform for the unscrupulous to earn their 30 pieces of silver.
I have come across a litany of reasons (excuses) why the seller believes he/she can sell a relic, the explanations vary. The most common is that they are selling the locket (theca) not the relic. It is obvious that generally speaking the theca has little or no value. I find it particularly interesting that the whole sales pitch is on the contents of the locket, the life of the saint and his or her status in the Christian community. All of this free information on an item that has no value according to the seller, remember, you're buying the locket. The creative salesmanship of the "middle ages" merchant is obvious, the crassness of today's Judas is also painfully obvious. S&M&DC! These lame and pitiful excuses used when confronted about selling relics are as obscene as the sellers themselves.
The auction houses have made attempts to slow down and in some cases stop auctions offering 1st class relics for sale. Through our efforts a major auction house rewrote their guidelines for prohibited items on their www.website to include human remains(1st class relics). Enforcing it seems to be a problem. The sellers have changed their vocabulary and some cases the damage is done before the offending auction can be brought to the attention of the AH representative. Once the violation is brought to their attention closing it is another story. First they say they can't censor before to the posting of a sale, then when a sale is brought to their attention they say they do not have the expertise to determine if it is a violation of policy. They say that they are not responsible for the authenticity of an item being sold. Herein lies a question; if a relic is to be a valid it most have documentation (authentic), if a person is selling a relic that is undocumented it is possible that it might be a fraud? If it is a documented relic, the general sale of relics is a violation of the Code of Canon Law and a questionable act in Civil Law as well as a possible violation of Penal Codes. Why then would a company want to participate in commerce that is offensive to the Christian community and has possible legal implications in City, County, State, and Federal laws? S&M&DC!
As you visit the internet auction houses and become more familiar with the scandalous sales of religious relics you will find some interesting commonalties; satan, money, and a dead conscience. The sin of simony has existed throughout time, fueled by the same human weakness, greed. Unfortunately, in today's world full of Godless people, the two most important ingredients in this recipe for certain damnation are satan and a dead conscience.
I find it interesting how the same establishment that keeps the auction houses from censoring incoming auction copy is the same system that cannot enforce restrictions because of lack of regulations. I really believe that the auction's house could do something if they honestly cared. I have been in contact with the FBI, Interpol, US Attorney General, and the State Attorney Generals office; the answer is the same, there is no policing body as of yet for the internet. The auction houses refer to themselves as communities; they proudly publicize their charitable donations, yet they refuse to stop aiding and abetting in the sale of the remains of the children of the same God they revere and value so much, "In God We Trust." I guess His money is as good as anyone else's!
I wonder if the benefactors of the stock proceeds of these companies feel the same? I wonder if they are aware and accept that they have become participants in this sacrilege? There are many questions are unanswered; the frightening thought is, Who will be asking, and the realization that it's too late for you to do anything about it! The sin of omission is a costly and eternal mistake...