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Kevin Terry wrote:

Mike,

I thought I heard it was against Church rules to purchase relics.

  • Is this true, and if so, why?
  • Also, where would one go to obtain relics if they cannot be purchased?

Later,

K.T.

  { Is it against Church rules to purchase relics and, if not, where can I go to obtain one? }

Mike replied:

Hi Kevin,

You said:
I thought I heard it was against Church rules to purchase relics.

  • Is this true, and if so, why?

I'm not aware of any such prohibition. I have a 3rd class relic myself (of the House of Loretto) which hangs outside the entrance to my apartment along with a St. Benedict medal.

What you are paying for is not the relic itself but the container that holds the relic.

  • A first class relic is part of a saint himself: e.g. a piece of the bone of the saint.
  • A second class relic is something that was worn by the saint.
  • A third class relic is something that touched a first class relic.

If you are interested in purchasing a relic of a certain saint the best thing to do is to talk to your local priest. He may have some ideas of places where you can get one or know of some Catholic religious communities (monasteries or convents) in Kentucky who could help you find one.

You could also write to Rome or the Vatican and see if you get a response.

Although you didn't ask for it, here are some Bible verses that support relics:

2 Kings 13:20-21
Psalms 116:15
Matthew 14:34-36
Luke 8:40-43
Acts 5:14-16
Acts 19:11-12

Take care,

Mike

Ann replied:

Hey, Mike!

Here is something I found on the sale of relics:

The Code of Canon Law <No. 1190> absolutely forbids the selling of sacred relics and they cannot be validly alienated or perpetually transferred without permission of the Holy See. Moreover, any relic today would have proper documentation attesting to its authenticity.

The Code also supports the proper place for relics in our Catholic practice. Canon 1237 states:

"The ancient tradition of keeping the relics of martyrs and other saints under a fixed altar is to be preserved according to the norms given in the liturgical books."

(A practice widespread since the fourth century.)

Visitors may be interested in reading the whole article:

Ann Jones

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