Canon Law 1190
§1 It is absolutely wrong to sell sacred relics.
§2 Distinguished relics, and
others which are held in great veneration by the people, may not validly be in any way alienated nor transferred on a permanent
basis, without the permission of the Apostolic See.
While selling relics ("simony") is wrong, it is permissible
to buy them if they will be marketed anyway and buying them would save them from desecration. This must
be done only if the good that comes from buying the relic outweighs other uses the money spent could be used for -- and this
should never be done at auction because bidding would only drive up the price, forcing others who simply want to rescue relics
to pay more. This could also increase the likelihood of a market developing in the sale of relics.
Relics may be legitimately
obtained from Church sources, i.e., the Vicariate in Rome, the religious Order of the Saint involved, the shrine of the Saint
involved, etc. When this is done, a donation is usually expected to cover the cost of the metal container (theca) that
contains the relic, but in any case, a profit cannot legitimately be made from the sale of relics by anyone.
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