HAMPSHIRE, UK, April 18, 2005 ( – The giant online marketplace eBay has thus far refused entreaties from numerous Catholics demanding that the sale of illicitly obtained Holy Communion be prohibited. Following the controversy which erupted last week  over the listing of a communion host consecrated at a papal Mass, eBay is currently listing another, described as “Holy Communion wafer blessed by Pope John Paul II.”

The online marketer forbids the sale of religious items of Native origin. The eBay “Prohibited and Restricted Items” overview notes under “Artifacts” that Native American “gravesite-related items, and burial items may not be listed on eBay” including, “Native American masks and ‘prayer sticks’ from all Southwestern tribes.” The seller lists a “Buy it now” price for the communion host of £5,000 (Approximately US $9,465.00)

Catholic League president William Donohue commented on the discrimination against Catholics exhibited by eBay. “As president of the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, I was disturbed to learn that eBay would unnecessarily offend 63 million Catholics in the U.S., and 1.1 billion worldwide, by selling a consecrated Host online,” said Donohue. “To Catholics, the Eucharist is the center of our religion, worthy of the utmost reverence. While we don’t expect non-Catholics to maintain the same perspective, we do expect them to be respectful of our sentiments. That is why the decision not to withdraw this item is so disturbing.”

The Community Watch Team of eBay’s Trust & Safety division responded to complaints about the sale of Holy Communion saying it does not prohibit sales of items ‘endowed with sacred properties by certain religious groups.’ Donohue concluded, “Since the policy is conditional, i.e., it refers only to ‘certain’ groups, it would be instructive to know which religious groups eBay would protect. Obviously, Catholics did not make the cut.”

Several readers have suggested a boycott of eBay service until the company changes its policy. Others have suggested demanding the enactment of a US law prohibiting the sale of consecrated hosts which would legally force eBay to alter its anti-Catholic stand.

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eBay Customer Support:
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Write to eBay president:
Meg Whitman
2145 Hamilton Avenue San Jose, California 95125

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