More the Eucharist on eBay

More the Eucharist on eBay

Officials of the Diocese of Sioux City are investigating the sale of the Eucharist on eBay, which I mentioned the other day, because the seller apparently lives in that diocese. They tried to contact him about the inappropriateness of what he was doing, but he didn’t respond to their emails. They also tried to get eBay to take the auction down, but by that time it had already been sold.

Meanwhile, if you write to eBay to complain, this is their response:

  • Hmmm, I wonder how long The Protocols of the Elders of Zion signed by Matthew Hale, or, say, a sliver of the bat used on Matthew Shepherd would last before eBay yanked them—as they should.

    Am I the only one annoyed my “Maricel’s” condescending tone?  And to add, “eBay has many Catholic employees.”  Outrageous! 

    Since ebay is one of the Net’s biggest vendors, I say the power of the blog should be unleashed on them.  This crass and offensive sale of Jesus Christ should be showcased for the hateful bigotry that it is.  Day and night until eBay caves. 

    Too bad Catholics don’t belong to an Approved Victim Class.

  • Also, too bad so many Catholic don’t believe in the Real Presence.  Which is partly why eBay goes largely unchallenged on this.  (Oh, bishops….wakey wakey.)

  • I’m with Patrick.  If enough of us really believed this, we’d be screaming “This is DIFFERENT!” in large numbers.  Starting with Ebay’s “Catholic associates.”

  • The question is not one of law, but the application of eBay’s own policies which allow it to prohibit the sale of legal items according to its own discretion.  It would be interesting to see if eBay has ever suspended the auction of something “sacred” and if it did, why did it do so for that case and not this one.

  • Patrick Sweeney…No one is saying it’s a matter of law.  Here’s a small sample of eBay’s incredible inconsistency over what gets the boot and what gets defended.  This is from macnewsworld, 02/09/01:  “eBay also came under scrutiny this week for letting two controversial auction items slip under its radar. The first came via University of Washington student Adam Burtle, who made a deal on eBay to sell his soul for US$400.

    “Please realize, I make no warranties as to the condition of the soul,” Burtle wrote. “As of now, it is near mint condition, with only minor scratches.”

    The second controversial auction came in the form of a pound of Atlantic City beach sand, which sold for 99 cents—plus $4 shipping and handling. City officials reportedly asked eBay to stop the transaction on the grounds that the sale was illegal.

    “There is no right for anyone to wantonly take sand, never mind to sell it on the Internet,” Deputy Chief Rod Aloise of the Atlantic City Beach Patrol said, according to published reports.

    Both listings were pulled by eBay.

    And this is from trixipixgraphics, whose rather conservative trinkets were banned by eBay.  I’d like to know how these dumb keychains and poster images get banned:

    while the holy Eucharist stays and gets sold!

    Finally, from an article by Mark O’Neill of, dated 12/28/04.  The context here has to do with trying to sell books and papers by Adolph Hitler.

    Avoid listing on eBay, which tends to get nervous about politically and historically controversial items, and instead list on the Abebooks site. Listings on eBay run the risk of being cancelled at any time if anyone complains.

    You don’t need to be the type who sees anti-Catholicism behind every bush to be flabbergasted at eBay’s selective sense of “tolerance.”

  • Their dismissive attitude brought this quote to mind:
    “In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me…By that time there was no one to speak up for anyone.”

  • Unfortunately, the Catholic League’s fulminations, however just, don’t have much effect too far beyond their mailing list.  This eBay thing calls for a much wider, grassroots, blog-led, relentless campaign until they get it.  It’s actually a great evangelical/apologetical moment.  Question is, are we up for it?

  • Someone should tell Ebay that stealing the Eucharist and selling it are against the laws of the country from which this clown claims to have gotten the host from, i.e. the Vatican City State. 

  • I think too many people have the same attitude as my husband, God bless him, which is:  Someone will do something.  Looks to me like the “someone” is going to have to be US.  Especially since all the Powers That Be are a little busy elsewhere right now.

  • Karen Hall has the lowdown on eBay’s site for complaint, where to click, etc.  K, could you link that here, too?

    To me, its just a matter of math. Everyone reading Dom’s blog, and I can see that hundreds read us combox pontiffs every day, knows at least five practicing Catholics.  If each of those five took a moment (no heavy lifting required) and followed Karen’s simple steps, and told five more friends, the people at eBay would find themselves flooded with thousands of charitable, firm, clear expressions of complaint, with reminder that eBay does have competitors from which to buy and sell online—and a brief reason why their Maricel-penned form letter utterly misunderstands the difference between Mormon undies and the Word through Whom the world was created. 

    We all keep it up until Jesus is no longer allowed to be humiliated in His sacramental presence.  It’s a sick twist on thirty pieces of silver, ain’t it?

  • Did you notice that the word “diversity” was used twice in ebay’s memo?  I am beginning to detest that word and all it is beginning to stand for.

  • The link that Kelly posted above works.  Drop-down and choose “problems with other ebay members” and then “my problem is not listed here”—my wording is not exact.

    Patrick:  I love Mormon undies.  The comment, I mean.  I have never seen Mormon undies.

  • Okay Everybody!  I LIVE in the Sioux City Diocese.  If you were the “diocesan officials” and you discovered the identity of the person who sold the Host, what would you do? 

  • I guess the seller isn’t Catholic.  What can they do?  Nothing.

    Have you gotten on eBay and read the seller’s description of his items?  His first line tells me he knows selling them was wrong.

  • Sorry.  Me again.

    I think the guy IS Catholic.  Why would a non-Catholic attend TWO papal Masses (the Eucharist was taken in 1998 while he was studying in Florence and the bottle opener he held, believing the item would then be blessed, during a Mass in 1992). 

    He also refers to the Host as the wafer in one sentence but then calls it the Eucharist with a capital E in another.

    Like I said in my previous post, I think he tried to convince himself that there was nothing wrong with selling the Host.  It pisses me off that he’s $2000 richer for it. 

    The cash probably went to the poor anyway – there is a Native American-run casino right there in little Sloan, Iowa!

  • The listing clearly stated the seller was not Catholic, and he used some colorful language to describe what he thought of us.

    I’ve just sent an email to eBay closing my account.  I made sure to tell them they were trafficking in items in violation of the laws of at least one country.  (Not that eBay would recognize the Vatican as a nation.)

    Btw, any lawyers out there know exactly which laws were broken?  Is a host legally considered the property of the Church or the Vatican until it’s consumed?  If so, that’d also violate eBay’s “no stolen goods” policy.

  • I think you have to be a registered member of eBay to do this but here goes.  First click on Kelly’s link above, then click on these:

    1. Report problems with other ebay members
    2. Problems with sellers
    3. The problem you’re having with your seller isn’t listed
    4. click on ‘email’

    The item number is 6169851381.

  • I had two auctions on eBay which I cancelled this morning, with a note to them why I cancelled them, and to the effect that my wife and I will NOT do business with eBay until the rectify their policies and issue an apology to Catholics. My pastor announced this auction last night at Mass and used it as an opportunity to remind all of us of the reverence we ought to show the Eucharist, and how to properly receive communion.

  • PS I went through the rigermarole (sp?) and it seems one needs to sign up for eBay to complain.  If you have a non-paid account (aol, hotmail, msn, etc) you will have to leave your credit card info.  I decided to use my work email so that they don’t have my credit card info.

    Unless i did something wrong, just wanted to let folks know what they face, which is worth it!!

  • Do you think EBay would mind if somebody stole a sign from their corporate offices and auctioned it off on one of their competitors’ websites?

  • I doubt it.  They’re so tolerant and diverse over there at eBay.

    Patrick C., I’ve emailed all my Catholic connections and spelled out exactly how to file a complaint with eBay.  How long can eBay say they’ve only fielded a ‘handful’ of complaints?  Puh-leeeeze!

  • Wow! 27 replies and over 900 views!

    And thanks midwesternmom, I am an e-bay member and I will register my complaint.

  • Karen H:  Sure, Karen, sure.  All those trips to Provo were all just ski trips.

    Simone:  Check out Kelly Clark
    s link, above yours.

    Kelly:  Good job.

    Midwestmom:  Somewhere above 10 and below 10 million.  eBay casts a wide net, but there are about 65 million Catholics in the US.  Then there are the many (basically) pro-Catholic Evangelicals who would stand with us in protesting eBay’s policy on this.

  • Patrick:  Actually, I was a Mormon for 5 minutes in college (no joke) but I never made it to the underwear phase. 

    I’m not sure that Ebay’s “Catholic associates” have done a good job of explaining this problem to their bosses, if they are equating it with Mormon temple garments.  Last night I wanted to smack Neil Cavuto, who is usually very good at explaining Catholicism, when he read an e-mail wherein the writer said that everyone needed to lighten up on Ebay because “You’d think someone was trying to auction off Jesus Christ.”  Neil Cavuto just moved on to the next item, while I was screaming at the television, “Someone DID auction off Jesus Christ!” 

  • eBay continues to speak out of both sides of their collective mouths. They will not allow anyone to sell anything (including a military historical item) which contains a Nazi Swastika (saying that in Germany they are illegal). Nor will they allow items from “hate groups.” Yet they allow the sale of satanic rosaries and crucifixes. (Just do a search for rosaries or crucifixes on eBay, and you’ll be surprised!)

  • We moan and groan about what the clergy should or should not be doing but here is a perfect chance for the laity to make a point. Let’s not just talk let’s do something. Close your Ebay account and use another auction site to buy your knick knacks.  Don’t just yap at Ebay—they don’t care and frankly this is just free publicity for them. Hit them where it really matters.

  • Dymphna,

    I agree. It’s not as if eBay is the only auction site online. For example, if you’re looking for a book? Just enter the ISBN number on Google and you’ll be rewarded with tons of resources. And that’s just for starters.

    In my note on the eBay petition I mentioned that it is VERY easy to get stuff cheap and sell stuff you don’t want without using eBay. Just dump ‘em.

  • has a fledgling auction service.  I’m sure they’d love the business!

  • Here are a couple of gems listed on eBay that I think would fall under the definition of promoting “hatred, violence, or racial intolerance.”

      *Anti HETERO gay pride T-shirt



  • Hey crew
    Just a few thoughts: While our outrage is justified, take time to make your outrage about the company policy a well thought out letter. Make your arguement solid and forceful-but not emotional and spiteful.  I only say this because a well crafted letter will say more than reeling blather.

    I got the same note back that Dom did (with a different staff members name) so I wrote them back.  I’ll keep writing them back til they admit that their policy is wrong and that they were wrong to allow this sale.

    Keep up the good fight!

  • In case you folks didn’t know, the seller cancelled the sale, met with the Diocese, apologized for the listing, accepted no money, returned the Eucharist which was disposed of according to Canon Law. He regrets the listing. But keep on bugging eBay and pass the word about the petition. according to Siouc City News, I think.