The Boycott is Over: Ebay Will Not Permit Future Auctions of Catholic Communion Hosts
From: Boycott Ebay
Recently, Catholics began a boycott of Ebay and its affiliate, Paypal, over Ebay's stated policy of continuing to permit consecrated Communion Hosts to be offered for sale through its auction site. Tens of thousands of Catholics and others closed their accounts, sent letters and emails of protest, and signed petitions. Others called the company to express their dismay.
What is the Current Status?
Much to its credit, Ebay has reconsidered, and has officially stated that, under its existing policies, sales of the Eucharist, as well as other unspecified holy objects of Catholics and other religious faiths, will not be permitted in the future. In fact, Ebay is asking Catholics to bring any violations of this policy to its attention promptly, so that it can take appropriate action.
What Exactly has Ebay Said?
Here is the complete text of the revised response that Ebay sent on May 1, 2005 to some or all of the Catholics and others who sent emails of protest to customer service:
Thank you for your email regarding the sale of the Holy Eucharist by one of our community members. We respect and appreciate your comments regarding this sensitive matter.
As you may know, eBay does not sell items itself. Rather, we are a global marketplace for sellers and buyers who transact directly with one another. Each day eBay’s sellers list 5 million items on the site, and those sellers decide what items they want to list. eBay did not possess, list or approve the sale of the Eucharist. The buyer and seller completed the Eucharist transaction on April 11th, before eBay even became aware of the listing.
As a marketplace, we strive to respect the diverse perspectives of our sellers. We also work hard to promote an open environment for trade. That said, eBay has policies in place to remove listings for illegal items as well as highly offensive listings that promote hate or intolerance.
We understand that the listing of the Eucharist was highly upsetting to Catholic members of the eBay community and Catholics globally. Once this completed sale was brought to our attention, we consulted with a number of our users, including members of the Catholic Church, concerning what course we should take in the future should a similar listing appear on our site. We also consulted with members of other religions about items that might also be highly sacred and inappropriate for sale. As a result of this dialogue, we have concluded that sales of the Eucharist, and similar highly sacred items, are not appropriate on eBay. We have, therefore, broadened our policies and will remove those types of listings should they appear on the site in the future.
As always, we welcome and appreciate the assistance of the community in upholding the rules of our site. Should you see another Eucharist listed on our site, we encourage you to notify us so we can take appropriate action. Further, we encourage you to directly communicate with the seller. Members are often unaware that a particular item is offensive to others. A respectful e-mail to the seller is often all that is needed for the seller to voluntarily remove the item. We believe this modification strikes the appropriate balance between respect for our community’s values and our goal of providing an open marketplace offering practically anything on earth.
Again, we sincerely appreciate your concern and thank you for communicating your views with us. Your input has helped us frame a policy that will enable us to better serve our diverse community of users around the world.
Lenore on behalf of Bill Cobb
Community Watch Team
eBay Trust & Safety
William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, 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 US, 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."
Obtaining a consecrated communion host for any purpose but immediate consumption by a Catholic in good standing, in the presence of the priest or other authorized minister, and in accordance with the norms of the Church, may in fact constitute the crime of theft in some or all US jurisdictions (larceny by trick or false pretense). Therefore, in addition to condoning gross sacrilege, Ebay may also be criminally liable for aiding and abetting the sale of stolen property.
Concerned Catholics, and others who believe that Ebay should have the decency to show some respect for things that many people hold to be sacred, have already cancelled their accounts with Ebay and its affiliate, Paypal, in protest.
What Does this Mean?
It means that the boycott over sales of the Eucharist is over. If you've asked Ebay and Paypal to close your accounts, you can ask for them to be reinstated, or open new ones. There are still some open questions about the other "similar highly sacred items" that Ebay describes in its letter. However, we hope that Ebay will continue to work constructively and sensitively with Catholics and members of other religions to clarify and implement this policy. In particular, as Catholics, we have for many years been attempting to end the sale of relics, especially first class relics, on the site.
It also is a powerful demonstration of how Catholics can take take constructive action to insist that the holy things of God be respected by corporations that do business with the public. It shows us what Catholics and other Christians could accomplish if we would but rise up and speak with one voice for the protection of Christ's unborn children, for a return to morality, for love of the poor, and for justice for the oppressed,
What Should I Do About it?
Please contact Ebay to thank it for its committment to remove future listings of the Eucharist, and express the hope that it will similarly remove all listings of first class relics.
You can thank Ebay's whether or not you currently have (or recently had!) an account:
1. Use a web form to contact Ebay's Customer Support
2. Write to Ebay's president
2145 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, California 95125
3. Send an email to Ebay at firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Give praise and thanks to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for giving us the victory.
5. Pray that the Holy Spirit will show us how we can continue to work for the coming of the Kingdom.
Our Thanks to all the Individuals and Organizations that Supported the Boycott or the Protest of Ebay's Policy!
(Thanks to boycottebay.org for the above information!)
The History -
Outrage From the Catholic Community
Consecrated Host From Pope John Paul II for AUCTION on EBAY!
My Dear Friends in Christ:
It was brought to our attention that a host consecrated by Pope John Paul II was recently listed for sale on E-bay. Thankfully, that host has been returned to a Catholic Diocese in Iowa and been disposed of in accord with Church law.
It is tragic enough that any individual would steal the blessed sacrament from a Papal mass and offer it for sale. "Sacrilege" is a word meaning the theft of a sacred thing and that is exactly what we are dealing with here. But of course the item in question is not just a devotional or blessed object but rather the sacramental body and blood of Christ, worshipped by 1.1 billion people.
But what is even more upsetting is the response of Ebay. In effect, their response is that if the sale of a particular item is not prohibited by the law, it is fair game to be traded through their business no matter how offensive it may be to any religious group.
A consecrated host that is not immediately consumed or reserved in the tabernacle is a stolen item and the sale of stolen goods is of course against the law and therefore against Ebay policy. But they appear to need to be reminded of this.
So please take the time to go to the link http://www.PetitionOnline.com/bbsdofj and sign the petition to add consecrated hosts to the list of items that may not be sold on Ebay. It takes just a few seconds. I then ask you to send this e-mail to ALL on your email list, with a personal note asking ALL of your friends to do the same. There should be hundreds of thousands of e-mails arriving at Ebay's inbox and signatures going on this petition.
Even if you are NOT Catholic, Ebay's attitude is not only an outrage to Catholics and Orthodox Christians, but an affront to Christ and to all believers who hold anything sacred. I ask all of our Christian friends and indeed all men and women of good will to stand united with us in this matter. We hope that you will join us in boycotting E-Bay and all their companies, such as PayPal until such time as they choose to respect the rights of the Catholic Church to protect and revere the body and blood of Christ.
United in Christ,
New York Times best-selling author
Director of the Crossroads Initiative
P.S. Also to e-mail E-Bay directly with your own personalized message, CLICK HERE - email@example.com or call them at If you prefer at 1-800-322-9266
Please be sure to follow to the end of this page for the LATEST on our dialogue with Ebay and how E-Bay continues to list consecrated hosts in their online auctions!
P.S. There are several petitions on the matter that are collecting signatures. The link for and text of the first of such petitions is as follows: http://www.petitiononline.com/bbsdofj/petition.html Here is the text of this petition:
Petition to: EBay
Add the Eucharist to the List of Items Prohibited for Sale on EBay
On April 11, 2005 EBay auction #6169851381 closed at $2,000. A transaction was arranged between a seller from Sloan Iowa and a buyer from California--like the many exchanges that occur on EBay every second of the day. However, this was no ordinary transaction. The seller had on the auction block a Host that was consecrated by His Holiness John Paul II.
We as Catholics firmly believe Jesus’ words in John 6. We believe that in that $2,000 auction is the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ truly present in every Holy Eucharist. We are not impressed by the seller’s description of the Bread of Life as a “COLLECTIBLE” or “momento from that great afternoon with Pope John Paul II” (poor spelling was the seller’s). We are disgusted with EBay’s Pontius Pilate response: “However, even though these auctions may be offensive to some, please remember that most of the time the law does not prohibit the items.” EBay continues by putting the Holy Eucharist in the same category as “Catholic relics of saints, LDS garments, certain Buddhist tablets, etc. However, eBay has made the decision not to prohibit any item only the basis of the item being endowed with sacred properties by
certain religious groups.” This is a further outrage considering that certain Nazi items are not allowed. Jesus’ Body can hit the auction block in EBay’s worldview, but Nazis—that’s offensive!
EBay must act now to halt future sales of Holy Communion on its auction site.
Please find below a copy of correspondence between Father “F” and E-Bay –
To the eBay Community Watch Team:
I strongly and urgently protest the sacrilegious sale of a host consecrated by John Paul II (Item number: 6169851381). This $2,000.00 sale is highly offensive to millions of Catholics and must not be allowed in any circumstances.
The Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is incomprehensible that anyone should be allowed to buy and sell a consecrated host.
I am asking that eBay never allow such sales again by putting them on the list of Prohibited and Questionable Items. In addition, I am asking that eBay suspend the seller who received numerous ardent requests to stop the sale because it was so offensive. However, the seller said he or she would delete all future emails and claimed: _I am not Catholic and do not believe Im going to hell for selling this collectable (sic!).
The Sacred Host is never a collectable! It is not a John Paul II memorabilia! I urge you to assure the public that such sales will never occur again in the future.
Please let me hear from you.
Personal comments: Be assured that I will boycott eBay and encourage all of my friends to do the same until you publicly renounce this most horrific offense against the Catholic Church.
EBAY’s RESPONSE To Fr. F–
eBay Customer Support <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Thank you for writing in to Safe Harbor with your concerns, I will be happy to assist you.
We understand that you are upset at having seen certain Catholic items or items related to the Pope on eBay, including item #6169851381.
Because eBay's community is a diverse, international group of more than
135 million users with varied backgrounds and beliefs, there are times when some items listed on eBay by sellers might be offensive to at least some of our users somewhere in the world. At times, members may see listings that they may consider morally wrong or objectionable. However, even though these listings may be offensive to some, please remember that most of the time the law does not prohibit the items.
Due to the fact that eBay's focus is to have a free and diverse community, we are reluctant to interfere with listings that are not illegal. Regarding offensive items, there are many items that are considered sacred to many people of various religions, and we sometimes hear complaints about these items. Examples would be Catholic relics of saints, Mormon (LDS) garments, certain Buddhist tablets, etc. However, eBay has made the decision not to prohibit any item only on the basis of the item being endowed with sacred properties by certain religious groups. In general, eBay will remove items for a violation of our Offensive Materials policy only in extreme examples in which the listing explicitly promotes hatred, violence, or racial intolerance. However, we do not remove religious items that are otherwise legal for sale and do not violate any other eBay listing policy.
Please keep in mind that many of us at eBay may also share your distaste with an item, and may not support the sale. In fact, eBay has many Catholic employees. Howe! ver, we do our best to understand and tolerate the many viewpoints held by our worldwide community. The Eucharist is not illegal to sell, and is generally allowed on eBay as long as the seller does not otherwise include hateful text or images in the listing.
Although we realize that you may not agree with this decision on eBay's part, we hope that you can respect the diverse and open nature of eBay's marketplace.
We are committed to making your eBay experiences pleasant and fulfilling.
eBay Community Watch
Fr. F's response to Ebay's Response:
As I promised, I will speak with my friends and parishioners and I will encourage a boycott of your business. You know well that whether it is legal or not to sell something is not the criterion of sensibility. Your policy has now created a new market for this monstrous abuse of the Blessed Sacrament which will only serve to increase the occasions of sacrilege by those who seek to profit from it. You have demonstrated your lack of sensitivity and reasonableness with your reply.
God has made a promise in Genesis 3:15 that will come to pass and is already here.
In God Alone, Father “F”
Marcellino's Initial Email to EBay protesting EBay's insensitive Response to Fr. F:
To Birke and colleagues at Ebay,
I am outraged at your response to the request to prohibit future auctions of consecrated hosts on Ebay. A consecrated host is no mere blessed relic or devotional object such as a statue, but is worshipped by 1 billion people on this planet as being truly and really the body and blood of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
I appear on National TV and radio on a weekly basis, have a website visited by 1200 persons a day, and have an email mailing list of nearly 7,000.
If I do not hear a reversal of this policy by Tuesday of this week (April 19), I will announce a boycott of Ebay via all these media and will energetically promote it every chance I get.
Marcellino DAmbrosio, Ph.D.
New York Times best-selling author
Director of the Crossroads Initiative
EBAY’S RESPONSE TO MARCELLINO D"AMBROSIO–
eBay's Banned Items.
Thank you for writing in to let us know your feelings on the completed sale of this item which was listed through our site by one of our members.
We understand that you do not agree with our decision. We respect your feelings and we do not expect you to agree with our decision but we ask that you please also respect eBay_s decision to keep our site a worldwide marketplace where nearly anything that is not against the law can be sold by nearly anyone in the world regardless of religious belief, race, sex or physical ability. Please remember that eBay does not possess and sell the actual items listed on our site, they are listed by individuals not affiliated with eBay, and so long as they comply with site policies, we are involved in the transactions very minimally.
Your concerns have been passed on through the proper channels and future correspondence will not change our decision to keep this completed item showing on the site. Please be aware that this will be the last correspondence you will receive from us regarding this matter. You have explained your views and we have explained our decision. Future correspondence will be read but will not receive a reply.
We do appreciate you writing in to express your concerns.
eBay Community Watch
MARCELLINO’S RESPONSE –
Any consecrated host taken out of a Catholic Church by anyone other than an authorized minister of the Eucharist, bringing this host to a sick or dying person, is a stolen item. You are allowing the use of stolen goods on your site. This is indeed against the law it would seem to me.
I intend to do everything in my power to see that legal action is taken against you since communication from your customers like me (former customers I may add) have had no effect.
I will copy you on the email letter that will be sent out to thousands today calling for an EBay boycott. I will also be on Fox News radio today and will make frequent national media appearances this week and will do my utmost to let people know of your reprehensible decision and of the call to boycott.
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
E-Bay Continues -
URGENT Action: Another Sale of Eucharist Pending at eBay
Mary T. Corcoran, Director
Apr 18, 2005
While protests did get the word out, and a diocese in Iowa obtained the host for sale ... http://www.spiritdaily.com/ebaysolved.htm
There is another listing today for an (alleged) Consecrated Host being sold on eBay. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=1447&item=6171703649&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW
There is also a second petition on this matter which we'd also encourage you to sign:
NOTE - The host was withdrawn from sale but that still EBay reserves the right to allow consecrated hosts to be auctioned on their site.
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