Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Carmel on the Case: Selling of the Saints
It's nicknamed the selling of saints. Remember when people were bidding on the image of the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich? Well, wait until you see what we found for sale online. Carmel Cafiero is On The Case.
WSVN -- Saints are sacred and treasured by millions, but now their holy history is being hawked online. With the click of the mouse, spirituality is up for sale!
Anthony Rice: "You're selling something that is religious, that is sacred, that is holy and these things can have really no price put on them."
Web sites are selling what appear to be religious relics, claiming to be the body parts of saints or some of their precious possessions.
For Roman Catholics, selling an authentic relic goes against canon law. And as far as selling human remains? That's against federal law!
Still, 7 News had no problem finding these items online. Everything from bones to blood and from crosses to clothing, all said to have once belonged to a saint.
7 News bought this relic from a church in Rhode Island for $20. The relic claims to be a piece of clothing from a saint. The church calls itself Catholic, but it is not recognized by the Vatican.
We wanted to ask the parish pastor why he was going against catholic laws, but he would only talk on the phone.
He argued there was nothing wrong with selling a relic.
He also wouldn't say what the money was intended for, but on eBay, it says the money was part of a fundraiser for the church.
EBay says when it comes to blood, bones or body parts it actively tries to stop the sales.
But there are so many items like this for sale at any given time, it would take divine intervention to catch them all.
Andrew Walter: "We've had lots of different people contact individual sellers and say, 'Why are you doing this?'"
That's where Andrew Walter comes in. He is part of a group called the International Crusade for Holy Relics. Their mission: to stop these sales.
Andrew Walter: "Some of them have said, 'I'll basically do what I want.' Some of them have said, 'I'm really sorry. I didn't know any better.' It really runs the gamut."
Walter says many sellers inherit the relic from a family member and don't even understand what they're selling.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
International Crusade For Holy Relics USA
IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL:
Contact her in Miami-Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE