Buying secondhand religious items


#1

Hello!

I understand we are to never buy items that have been blessed, as that is committing simony. (Hope that’s the correct term).

I have bought a few things at Goodwill, such as Virgin Mary knick knacks, or pictures of Jesus.

Is there a danger in buying these items in case they may have been blessed at one point? Or is the sin in buying an item you know for sure is blessed?

God Bless!


#2

I could be wrong, but I believe simony is when someone charges more money for a blessed item.


#3

Simony is when you buy the blessing or some spiritual good (such as indulgences). Buying items that have been blessed is not simony as long as you are paying only for the item and not for the blessing. Also, once you buy something that has been blessed, the blessing leaves regardless of whether you have committed simony or not. So it is fine to purchase blessed items, but you will have to get them blessed again after you buy them.


#4

We buy and sell blessed items all the time. One might even have a house blessed, and it doesn’t hinder it from being sold. The blessing itself is not for sale, though.


#5

That makes sense. Thank you everyone!


#6

As far as I know, simony refers to the practice of selling Church offices. I don’t think it has anything to do with blessed objects.

When it comes to transactions dealing with blessed items, in the circumstances you described, if there is a sin at all, it would be incurred on the part of the seller, not the buyer. If there is a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at a Goodwill, all the better that you purchase it and put it to good and reverent use. In a sense, you are rescuing the item from the very real possibility of profanation. Who knows, it could have fallen into the hands of someone with less benign intentions had you not bought it.

I know of people who have even purchased relics off of sites like eBay to save them from profanation. The selling of relics, of course, is strictly forbidden by Church law. However, when such holy items, by whatever means, fall into the wrong hands, it can be a salutary thing to purchase them back so as to venerate them and show them the dignity the deserve. Once again, in such a situation, the one who is selling the relic is committing the sin. The one who is buying it, if he or she has holy intentions, actually performs a good and reverent deed by doing so.


#7

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