Selling within the Church


At my local Catholic Church it is not uncommon for the Parish to come together and raise money for charity. Recently we had an event on a Saturday and I was surprised to see that they had set up some stalls/market within the actual Church (usually it is in the grounds outside the Church or building next to the Church). One stall was in front of the alter.

The next day after mass there was a stall at the back, so as people were leaving someone was selling items (hats, gloves, etc.). I’m trying to teach my children that the Church is a place of worship and they should not talk/play but instead pray and reflect. I feel like the stall undermines this and I have never seen this before.

I emailed the Priest politely raising my concern but he did not reply. I’ve just found out it is happening again this Sunday. Am I being overly sensitive? Is this okay and happens at other Parishes?


My church has a small room just inside the very basic foyer which they call the repository. After the Saturday vigil mass this is manned and the shutter is opened and parishioners can buy religious cards, prayer cards, medals icons, rosaries is etc etc. When I first saw it I was very surprised and thought of course of the money makers in the temple and how Our Lord had thrown them out. However it’s not exactly inside the worship area and so I feel it’s ok.

We also have sliding doors which we use to section off the altar from the main hall for when the main hall usually full of chairs is used for our sales, bric a brac and clothes etc, that happens about four times a year.

So yes, we’re doing something similar but I think you may spot the subtle differences, and I think those are important. It is a scared space and as long as that isn’t damaged then I think it’s ok.


I have to agree, that’s very weird and inappropriate. I’ve never heard of such a thing and can’t inagine my church doing that. The parish hall is where events like that belong!


ONLY time I’ve ever seen that was when a Priest from an out of state order/community came and spoke for a parish mission. He spoke of certain books, statues, etc that would be available for sale. The table with these items was set up near the side section of pews well away from the altar but still in the “front” of Church.

Other times things have been placed on tables in the vestibule


My 5 year old was sent home from school sick yesterday so fortunately for me I got to snuggle on the sofa and watch the story of Jesus with him

When his step dad came home mr 5 gave him a full rundown on what we watched so I will use mr 5s words to his step father

When Jesus went to the church he was angry that there were merchants and tax collectors selling stuff in his father’s house.
The church is a special place and it needs to be treated like one.

This is not to say that a church fundraising is wrong and I realise that alot of churches do not have church halls however it needs to be kept outside and away from the alter. If it was ok Jesus would not have been angry


Actually, according to many sources I have read, the temple, being the largest building in most towns where there was one, was commonly used as a market and meeting place, though there were acceptable norms for this. Jesus’ issue was not the presence of the money changers, but with their dishonesty. Those who exchanged foreign coins into domestic ones, which were the only acceptable form of money for offerings within the temple, were charged exhorbitant fees for the service. People were being cheated by the bankers, so to speak, and Jesus lost it on them, rightfully so. But the temple as a market was common and an accepted practice at that time. Even animals were traded as they were also a frequent need for sacrifices, but this was supposed to take part in the courtyard outside. I do stand to be corrected here by those more in the know.

There is a very interesting piece on this topic here. 4 minutes roughly;


To fill the church with stalls and transform a sacred ground into some sort of market, no.
To have a small place at a corner selling some religious objects, yes.


You’re not being over-sensitive - it’s a really bad idea. Commerce already has too much of a hold over our lives - the inside of a church should be a sanctuary from that, as it is so many other things.

It’s pretty difficult to misinterpret how Christ felt about merchants and money men in the temple.

You should stand your ground on this & follow it up.


Plus, the buying and selling of religious articles is permitted on Sundays.

If they’re religious articles, they help people to advance in holiness, piety etc.


Canons 1200 through 1206 (approximately) of Canon Law speak to the church being a “sacred space.”

So, the activities in a church are supposed to be restricted. Some conservative priests up to and including the Pope will say that people shouldn’t even be TALKING (chit-chatting) in church. The Pope has stated this over and over.

Well, you wouldn’t know that in any of the local parishes in my town. One parish priest uses a large hand bell to get people to be quiet, but it is really only the singing of the entrance song that whips everybody to some degree of sobriety.

Despite the canons, the priests just let anything pass in church, depending on the priest and the physical layout of the church. If the vestibule is too small, then things may spill over into the church.

In past days, when there was something like a concert in church, the Eucharist would be replaced and the tabernacle emptied. The church is a sacred space.

Personally, I think the priests try not to be the “cops” telling people what they cannot or should not do in church. So, they lower the standards to the breaking point.


Luke 19: 45-46
( Jesus entered the temple courts and began to drive out those who were selling there.
( declared to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be a house of prayer.’c But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’d

I doubt very much your parish vendors are committing any thievery, but the ought not to be buying and selling in the house of prayer.


It should not be near the altar/sanctuary.

However, having commercial activity within the nave is not per se wrong, as many world cathedrals, e.g. Chartres, Notre-Dame, and Santiago de Compostela, do just that.



We sometimes have some small sales events in the narthex, like cookies left over from an afternoon bakesale, or someone selling tickets for a local charity dinner. But it’s confined ot the narthex.


Ours are in the vestibule after Mass.


I see and share your concern… it does not sound good to me. Perhaps your priest hasn’t answered while he sorts it out. I hope so. It’s very reminiscent of the market place Jesus threw everyone out of.


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

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