Hi, I have a bit of a problem with blessed items. People say that selling blessed items isn’t simony, because the seller sells only the item and not the blessing, but there are poor people who can’t afford the items being sold and thus they can not benefit from the blessing. A good example of this would be the St. Benedict medal sacramental. Poor people can not access it, because they would have to buy a not so cheap medal.
My problem with relics is a bit similar. The parishes that own relics often forbid touching them and you can only venerate the object through a glass window. In the Bible, people had to always touch relics to benefit from them. Also, people can’t make new 3th class relics, if they can not touch the 1st class relic.
Ok, I’ve too found some very cheap ones, but you still have to buy it to get the benefits from the blessing of it. I just feel like there should be a way to have the benefits without actually having to buy anything.
This solution came to my mind: It is obviously God who provides the benefits, so if someone doesn’t want to buy anything, but still wants the benefits from the blessing, God will give it to them. Does it make sense?
For some people relics and blessed items hold a place in their spiritual and prayer life. I have seen positive fruits of these types of optional devotions; especially among children as a way to connect their young minds with material objects.
I have also witnessed what I would call a disordered obsession with these things. For instance, there are some folks that spend a great deal of time and energy on these types of things, but couldn’t be bothered to volunteer at shelter, donate their time to parish function, donate time to an enriching lives ministry, visit the sick or imprisoned, etc… There is a sort of imbalance that seems unhealthy. It goes the other way too… where there is a disdain for material religious objects and an overemphasis on ministry.
All that said… a balance is needed. If you are all one way or the other, you may want to consider ways to balance… via media (the middle road) is typically a good path.
Thanks for your analysis, but it doesn’t really answer my questions. I should have written them more clearly.
Why isn’t the need to pay for blessed items (although the blessing is free) considered simony? (Since you have to buy the item to have the benefits from the blessing)
And why isn’t it a bad thing that we can’t (mostly) touch 1st class relics with something to create 3th class relics. (This quick video explains the classes of relics:)
Selling a blessed item as a “blessed” item is simony. When one sells a blessed item, the blessing does not “transfer”, the buyer simply takes the item to Father after Mass and asks for it to be blessed.
Why do you have to buy blessed items? Why not buy a regular (unblessed) rosary or medal and have your priest bless it?
Genuine 1st class relics are subject to damage (whether inadvertent or, in some cases, deliberate malice) and have been known to be stolen, hence the protection surrounding them. There may also be a procedure available to have a member of parish staff do the touching you speak of, or allow you to do it under very controlled and supervised circumstances.
Priests and deacons will bless sacramentals when you ask them to. We have a steady stream to the sacristy when people have travelled to the Holy land, Poland, South America and India where the sacramentals are a lot cheaper to buy. Sometimes an icon is placed on the altar and blessed after Mass especially if it is the saint´s day that we celebrated. I like it when people bring their Christmas cribs into the sacristy. There are just so many different ones that express the different cultures and traditions of the big Catholic Church.
can you give an example of where you saw ‘blessed’ items for sale. I have several blessed items I wanted to donate for a church raffle and my parish priest told me I couldn’t do that because although I wasn’t taking any money and donating the items, the people buying the raffle tickets would be seen as buying the blessed item.
They don’t need to be sold anywhere. I’m just talking about the fact that people still have to buy something to have the benefits of the blessing which seems wrong even if it’s just a small amount, at least to me.
This I can understand, because if not protected, relics would be readily stolen!
I do remember watching a documentary about Padre Pio, and how a boy in a comma revived when his mother borrowed one of the bloody towels Padre Pio used while alive, and prayed with it. How did she get a hold of that what kind of process to follow to ‘borrow’ this relic they did not say… but my takeaway is they make exceptions for such desperate cases.