What should I do with a stolen chalice?

I was away from the Church for a number of years. During that time, I knew a lady at work who used to be Catholic but had converted to the Seventh Day Adventist church. One day she told me that she had a chalice that she had stolen years back from her old parish somewhere up in Michigan. She was going to sell it at her yard sale but I asked her to give it to me instead and she did. I didn’t know what to do with it so it’s been sitting at the back of my china cabinet since then and I just forgot about it. I have recently returned to Church but have only just now remembered the chalice. Two questions: 1., what should I do with this chalice, and 2., do I need to confess having received and kept a stolen item? I have been to confession several times since my return (including a general confession) but forgot to mention it, and this particular transgression is weighing on my mind.

Can. 1171 Sacred objects, which are designated for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated reverently and are not to be employed for profane or inappropriate use even if they are owned by private persons.

You don’t need to confess anything. You are not the one who stole it, and on top of that you are the one who saved it from possible “profane or inappropriate use.”

You have a few options:

  1. You can return it to the parish from which it was stolen or contact the Michigan State Police. This is the preferred option but I don’t know if you can get that information or if any police report was ever filed or is able to be located. All efforts should first be made to find its rightful owner.

  2. If that fails, you can give it to your local parish or diocese and they will use it or properly dispose of it.

  3. If all else fails, you can keep it in a dignified place in your home. There is nothing in Church law that says a chalice cannot be kept/owned by someone other than clergy. However this is the least desirable option because it increases the likelihood of the chalice passing into hands ignorant of its importance.

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