Dear all, I came back from Poland some time ago. I was there with a Protestant friend and he was troubled by the extensive selling of 3rd degree relics (pieces of cloth touched by a bone of a saint and attached to a holy card). I had never thought about it, but now it dawned to me that Catholic sanctuaries in Catholic countries might be practicing simony and it’s being widely accepted. I don’t think relics should be made into a mass sales product. Simony is forbidden by the catechism. Now two things:

  1. is this simony? if not, why not? if yes, why aren’t the bishops/other church authorities doing anything about it?

  2. if this is simony, should we start a fight and try to make this stop?


I think it’s ok to sell 3rd class relics but not 1st or 2nd. Many Catholic stores sell third class relics.


Can. 1190 §1:
It is absolutely wrong to sell sacred relics.

Simony is the buying or selling of positions in the Church.


On selling relics you are right but on simony its not correct what you said.

CCC 2121 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.



I mean the local catholic store sells holy cards with bits of 3rd Class relics attached…is this sinful?



Maybe we are misunderstanding each other.

I agree that selling relics is wrong and you rightly pointed out the relevant Canon Code which doesn’t specify 1st, 2nd or 3rd class so I would presume all classes should not be sold.

You said simony is buying and selling of positions in the Church. That is not correct. See the CCC which I quoted in my previous post. It means you cannot buy or sell anything which has been blessed if the cost is increased because of the blessing.


Sounds to me like they are selling the Holy Card with a free relic attached. If not, then yes it’s wrong.


I don’t think they’re selling holy cards with free relics attached. I believe the relic cards are more expensive. Compare the price to the normal holy card without a relic. I don’t know though, someone please find out, because in Finland we don’t have Catholic stores or sellers. I really want to know if there’s a wide-ranging simony going on in the church that’s against canon law but practised and accepted by everyone…


Well, since we are not in Poland we really can’t help you.


Someone just said their parish/local Catholic store sells 3rd grade relic cards, so evidently it happens in America too, so you can help and check if those cards are the same price as the ones without relics or not.


I’d contact the diocese and ask them what their opinion is.


I’ve seen those cards before–I have one of St. Faustina from Poland with just such a relic. Compare it with the cost of other non-relic prayer cards–here in the US (at least where I have seen) they are the same cost, which shows that the relic is not being charged for. There may be a slight increase in price due to the cost of the cloth itself (before becoming a relic) as well as extra shipping costs getting the cloth to and from the relic’s place of origin.

It is fine to charge for these things, just not the relic itself. It seems they should be a bit more expensive than regular cards, but that takes into account extra licit costs.


I have a first-class relic of Blessed Father Francis Xavier Seelos, which I obtained years ago from the Seelos Center in Louisiana.
The relic is a tiny, tiny, tiny chip of bone.
I wasn’t charged for the relic, but I did have to pay for the reliquary that it came in, metal embroidered with metal wire and covered by glass.



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