The Blessed Sacrament was advertised for the sole purpose of abuse.
On May 7 the Etsy account “Pentagora” created a listing that claimed to be selling “Real Catholic Hosts, consecrated by a priest.” In the item description, the seller suggested the Blessed Sacrament was “to abuse for classic black fairs or black magic purposes.” The package of nine hosts was said to have been consecrated and procured in Germany.
The sale drew outrage from Etsy’s Catholic customers, who started a Change.org petition that gained thousands of signatures over night. Since the launch of the petition, a representative of Etsy has stated that the sale of consecrated hosts for the purpose of desecration is against the website’s policy.
The popular e-commerce website is known for their handmade, vintage, or craft supplies, which it sells nearly exclusively. Etsy’s terms page states that they prohibit the sale of stolen goods, as well as items that “support or glorify hatred toward people or otherwise demean people based upon: race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation.” The consecrated hosts listed for sale on the website appears to violate both of these restrictions.
The petition called for Etsy to clarify that the sale of consecrated hosts is expressly forbidden. Catholic News Agency reports the petition explained the significance of the Blessed Sacrament:
“Catholics believe that Consecrated Hosts are truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. It is the most precious thing in our religion. “It is given freely, and so the only reason anyone could ever have to sell it would by definition be illicit. To sell them ‘for abuse’ is hateful against the Catholic Church, and should be prohibited by Etsy.”
The petition further requested that Etsy officially add “Consecrated Hosts” to their list of prohibited items. After the petition was active for 24 hours, it had already amassed over 7,500 signatures, prompting Jess Kallberg, policy manager for Etsy, to respond with the confirmation that “the reselling of consecrated hosts is a violation of our policies.”
After reiterating that Etsy has a commitment to making all customers, including religious users, feel welcome, they removed the listing, which was at that time was marked as “Sold Out.”
Kallberg noted that since Etsy sellers are private users themselves, listings are not pre-approved before activating on the website. She said:
“We rely on each seller to ensure the items they list adhere to our policies, and our specialized teams take action when we see items that violate these policies.” We strongly encourage anyone who sees an item that violates our policies to submit a flag by clicking the ‘Report this item to Etsy’ link at the bottom of the listing.”