When I checked Facebook this morning I had an urgent request asking "Is it not a clear violation of Church Law to sell an item that has been blessed?" The "friend" included a link to "Fr. John Corapi's Rosary Blessed by John Paul II: The Rosary prayed during his formative years."
Fr. John Corapi, an international preacher and popular author and EWTN personality, was placed on administrative leave in March over an accusation of misconduct. You can read Fr. Corapi's statement in response to this action on his Web site.
Simony, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2121), is a sin of irreligion, contrary to the first commandment. "Simony is the buying and selling of spiritual things." Examples of this run from the selling of bishoprics in exchange for favors to the selling of indulgences, one of the practices that fueled the Protestant Reformation, to selling relics and blessed objects because they are blessed.
The opening bid for Father Corapi's rosary is $5000.00 and the information states that this not a sale but an auction to support a Catholic ministry -- so it's OK. The ministry is the for-profit Online Catholic Network.
It is unclear who the seller of Fr. Corapi's rosary is.
According to the eBay explanation, this auction is not a sale, but the proceeds go to a for-profit Catholic ministry.
This process takes mental reservations to a whole new level.
I have a rosary blessed by Pope John Paul II that he handed me on Sept. 1, 1981. But as much as my community could use the funds, "auctioning" it off just seems tacky and a little creepy. How do you place a monetary value on this? What's the rationale? And how do you authenticate the claims made about the rosary? What benefits does auctioning this particular rosary imply? Finally, who cares?
Some NCROnline blog entries about Fr. Corapi's story: