I’m trying to find out more about this… Is it true parts of a Saint’s coffin are third class relics?

Can they be obtained for a donation to cover the cost of the reliquary for example?

Thank you!

I have a relic like this (part of a Saint’s coffin) that was obtained through a donation for the container in which it comes. Its not a large donation. I’m worried - what if this was simony? :frowning: I really hope not… I thought donations are permitted. I also thought this is a third class relic as some websites say, but now I found people saying on other websites that its a second class relic. I don’t know who to believe… And if this was wrong I don’t know what to do with the relic now. I’m really worried and would appreciate any responses… Thank you!

I did a bit of research… And I’m even more worried now. The (Catholic) website where I got this asked for a specific donation (minimum donation). I don’t know now if it is for the cost of the container because the website says the donation is to support their work to spread devotion and to help a monastery. (If I remember correctly).

I found an article just now that says that asking for a mandatory donation and making it a specific amount is basically selling it. :frowning:

So now, it really seems like this was simony? This is very upsetting and troubling. I don’t know if am correct, but if I am, maybe I could send the relic back with a letter explaining what I found out? What would you do? Thank you

If the part of the saints coffin did not touch the saint then it’s 3rd class…if it did touch the saint it is 2nd.

A first class relics is part of the saint, hair, etc…a second class relics is something that touched a first class, a third class relics is something that touched a second class relic.
So it varies.

If the donation is for the container, or for shipping, it’s fine. If a genuine monastery was the provider of the relic you have, I would trust that they know what constitutes simony.

It is an apostolate not a monastery… What bothers me is that the donation is to help support the apostolate, according to the information.

So…i asked my priest about this sort of case and outlined the details. He replied and told me that the Church indeed does not allow this and he used the word selling. So now I know :frowning: I wrote an email to the organisation where I got this relic and I’d be sending it back to them. I just don’t think I could in good conscience keep it.

I feel pretty terrible because it appears I have committed simony :frowning: I didn’t realise but I think that was my fault for trusting the words on the website and not researching further. This is all just very sad. I hope sending it back and giving the information to the person in charge of the apostolate (who I believe just doesn’t realize either), would be a type of reparation. Lord have mercy :frowning:

I am so sorry to hear this, but it was not your fault, sometimes people trick others…

I once went to the cathoic shop here and I wanted to get a prayer card that had a 3rd class relic on it…but the price of the card with the relic was twice the price of the same card without it.

When I asked why, they said because they used extra plastic lamination to hold the relic…I though that was also trickery.

It’s sad :frowning: it seems very common that things like this are done. Maybe some people don’t know. It’s even worse if someone is tricking another person.

I’ve been in contact with the person running this apostolate a few times, and they seem really sincere and I think they just don’t realize this is selling the relics, as it’s a complicated topic with lots of different opinions about it.

Since I asked my priest and got a reply… of course though I’d trust the response of my priest over views on the internet, so even if some websites say its okay, his answer settles it for me. So I’ll be sending the relic back and hopefully this would help to repair what happened. :frowning:


Before you send that back, I would like to PM you about this. If you don’t mind, please communicate with me before sending this back.

Thank you,


Sure, I sent you a message, thank you

You have no guarantee that this alleged relic is what it is claimed to be.

Do not sell it to anyone else. I wouldn’t even give it to another person. Just keep it and chalk it up to experience. We all live and learn, and unfortunately sometimes it cost us to do so. :o

If it is TRULY a part of a coffin that held the remains of someone canonized, it would be a second class relic and not a third.

Monica, thank you for the link. It’s very informative and helpful to Catholics who may find themselves in a similar situation.

For years I’ve been saying the same thing - if an object has been blessed and someone is asking a specific amount as a “donation,” that’s just a nice way of selling it. I even told that to a priest once who was asking a specific amount of money as a donation for candles that had been blessed on Candlemas (February 2nd). I told him that I was under the impression that if a blessed object was sold, it lost its blessing. He said no; that the object wasn’t being sold, that only a donation was being asked. :confused: I wasn’t going to split hairs with him, but I see now I wasn’t off the mark at all. And this was a “traditional” priest too. :eek:

Monica, send it back and ask for your money to be returned. If you paid $250 for that piece of coffin, you got taken royally.

Its true there’s no guarantee… This apostolate does seem to receive things from the monastery of the Saint though. Also there is a seal.

I need to figure out what to do because I honestly feel really bad keeping it. I wouldn’t sell it of course or even give it to someone else. I was thinking of returning it back to the person who gave it.

I wouldn’t ever get relics on eBay or anything like that. I thought a Catholic website asking for a donation is different and isnt selling, but I guess there may be misinformation out there and owners of the websites may have been told its ok. I need to go with what my priest said though and I believe him. In the future if I want a relic I’d only write to a monastery maybe and ask for one for free, or travel and make my own third class relics lol :slight_smile: I thought it was get them for donations from Catholic apostolate’s but I guess with this you never know, I just want to obtain them without donations now that I learned all this. I’ll ask my priest about what happens if they ask for a donation ONLY for shipping.

Oh it was a very small amount, nothing like this. I don’t care about the money. I just don’t want to offend God :frowning:

This is incorrect.

A First Class Relic is a fragment of the saint’s body, hair, bone, blood, et cetera.

A Second Class Relic is [a fragment] of something used by the saint in daily life – A habit, a breviary, et cetera.

A Third Class Relic is something (frequently a piece of cloth) which has been touched to a First or Second Class relic.

There are exceptions to this. Instruments of the Passion (fragments of the True Cross, eg) are considered to be First Class relics. Similarly there may be items considered to be First Class relics of the BVM, but I know none off the top of my head.


Personally, I think God is more offended by uncharitable things we do and think each day than by something like this. :o

Thank you for sharing…Can you direct me to your source? I cannot find an official teaching on 3rd class relics, and 2nd class relics do not have to be used daily by a saint,if this were true, then the coffin would not qualify as a 2nd class relic as the saint does not use a coffin everyday. I was the thinking along the lines if it was a piece of the lining would make it 2nd class.

There is much debate about 2nd and 3rd class relics especially when a reliquary or coffin in this case is involved.

I have a third class relic of the BVM and it states it was touched to her clothing and is a third class relic.

So now I am totally confused…

Maybe the link below will help. It points to an article written by Fr. William Saunders (more can be found about him at the bottom of the article ). I think the description by tee is fairly close, but the whole daily use thing can be rephrased to mean regular use. Also, it is my understanding that sometimes a relic can be in a gray area between 2nd, 3rd, and “4th” class…but ultimately it’s the faith in the intercession of the saint and the power of God to work miracles that matter more than the class of a relic. God can work wonders through any relic of any class if the prayer is sincere and the request is for the salvation of souls.

Thank you for sharing this link …I appreciate that it is written by a priest.

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