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Selling Blessed Objects
Question from Janet on 4/2/2006:

Dear Father,

Please let me know what you think of the following situation. My daughter's Catholic school will be having a gala and auction soon. One of the items that will be available for the live auction is part of a Rosary personally blessed by Pope John Paul II. The Crucifix and Medal were removed because the rest of Rosary was in disrepair. These items were then placed on a new Rosary that someone made. The woman who donated the blessed Rosary and the woman who put the Crucifix and Medal on the new Rosary said they had ecclesial approval from a priest to do all this when I told them that you couldn't sell something that had already been blessed. They also said they weren't really selling it since this was an auction, and the people were making a donation for the Rosary and not actually buying it. What is ecclesial approval, and how does it impact the rule that says you can't sell religious articles that have been blessed? Also,I'm not sure what they did with the beads from the blessed Rosary.

I certainly appreciate all the work you do on this forum. Have a Blessed Lent and Easter.

Janet

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 4/2/2006:

A priest hardly has the authority to give ecclesiastical approval to simony.

Still, I don't see a problem with making clear that the amount given is a donation, not a purchase. After all, it is a charitable event for the sake of supporting Catholic education.

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