The sale of a Eucharistic host allegedly consecrated by Pope John Paul II on the on-line auction site, E-bay, reportedly did not go through.
The incident has sparked off considerable controversy for the website and been the focus of an e-mail campaign by Catholics wanting E-bay to change their policy on such sales.
According to Fr. Roger J. Augustine of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, the seller pulled the alleged Eucharist last week, and the sale was never finalized.
The priest said that he disposed of the Eucharist according to Church dictates.
Last week, a bidder from California bought the host for $2,000 from the on-line site. The man, a devout Catholic, said that he bought the host to keep it out of harmful hands.
A statement from the Diocese of Sioux City said that, “The issue of the attempted sale of the Eucharist has attracted both national and international attention with e-mails and fax messages coming into the diocesan office from countless communities.”
“Although this specific issue has been resolved,” it said, “the diocese still has differences with eBay and its policy governing the listing of items that are offensive to people of faith. E-Bay officials contend they see nothing offensive with the sale of such items on their website. Many Catholic organizations and individuals have taken issue with that policy and apparently are making their opinions known to eBay officials."
Fr. Augustine met with the seller on Friday and was “most grateful that [he] agreed that it was in everyone's best interest to bring this issue to a positive conclusion.”