Satan, Money, and a Dead Conscience...

Chev. Thomas J. Serafin, V.V.


Due to the abuses associated with the buying and selling of relics (which unfortunately included frauds and thefts) the Mother Church was forced to address the establishment of firm doctrinal changes. The sad thing was and still is that some of the abuse stems from within. I find it particularly interesting that the majority of simony is conducted by the very people who in the past and at present do not believe in Christ, His Church, the saints, and more than likely do not belong to the established Christian community. It's interesting how a person who does not believe that a relic could possibly be the authentic remains of a Christian saint can than turn around and auction it to others. Equally confounding is that Catholics and Christians alike are selling relics, while professing different ideals, ideals of convenience. I will at this point enter my own analogous abbreviation, S&M&DC,(satan, money, and dead conscience). An abuse is an abuse regardless.

The arrival of the electronic internet medium has created a pathway to the "middle ages". What was once a well guarded and lucrative underground trade has now come to prominence world-wide through the internet super highway. Shady merchants of earlier days have been replaced by individuals with bogus names and secret identities. The dark alleys and meeting places have been replaced by high tech sophisticated internet providers. A trade that was once subject to local demographics can now spread world-wide in a micro second.

One of my favorite stories of medieval salesmanship was when a Superior of a Religious Order was trying to locate a major relic for enthronement. He traveled to France to view relics in anticipation of finding a major relic for his monastery. Unfortunately he returned empty handed. Word came that a merchant knew that the Superior was trying to acquire a major relic and requested a meeting. The merchant presented a very rare relic in his possession that he was willing to sell. He presented the skull of St. John the Baptist. The Monk became suspicious and told him that on his trip to France he had venerated the skull of St. John. The merchant replied, "that was the skull of St. John when he was a child, this is his skull when he was an adult".