Rescuing old rosaries

Hi, this came up over on the Spirituality forum, and I am interested to know what the apologists can say about it.

I have always liked old rosaries, and have over the years bought many many rosaries at various places (garage sales, antique stores, thrift stores, and yes, eBay). I always considered it a “rescue” mission of sorts, and try to give away most of the rosaries as the opportunity arises (except for some of the really really old and falling apart ones). I have never re-sold any rosary I have bought.

The question of simony has come up in my conscience lately, however… since many of the former owners of these rosaries probably had them blessed. I understand that when a religious item is sold, it “loses” the blessing, and that it is a sin to sell blessed items (simony). Butis it sinful for me and others to buy (“rescue” ;)) old blessed items?


First, let’s define simony. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2121) says:

Simony is defined as the buying or selling of spiritual things. To Simon the magician, who wanted to buy the spiritual power he saw at work in the apostles, St. Peter responded: “Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money!” Peter thus held to the words of Jesus: “You received without pay, give without pay.” It is impossible to appropriate to oneself spiritual goods and behave toward them as their owner or master, for they have their source in God. One can receive them only from him, without payment.

By your account, it is not your intention to buy the blessing that may or may not be attached to the rosary (i.e., simony); you are only interested in buying the rosary itself. Merely buying a rosary is not a sin.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit