Washington D.C., May 14, 2019 / 12:28 pm (CNA).- An Etsy representative has clarified that the sale of consecrated hosts for the purpose of desecration is a violation of the e-commerce website’s terms.
A petition asking Etsy to confirm that it does not allow the sale of consecrated hosts gained thousands of signatures overnight, following a listing claiming to offer hosts to abuse.
On May 7, the Etsy account “Pentagora” claimed to be selling “Real Catholic Hosts, consecrated by a priest.” The hosts were advertised “to abuse for classic black fairs or black magic purposes.” The listing claimed to be selling a package of nine hosts that had been consecrated in Germany.
In the following days, the listing drew attention on Twitter, with critics arguing that it violated Etsy’s policies. The popular online marketplace only allows for the sale of items that are handmade, vintage, or craft supplies. Stolen items are explicitly prohibited, as are 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.”
A few days later, the listing for the consecrated hosts was marked as “Sold Out.” It was subsequently deleted.
On May 13, a Change.org petition was started, calling on Etsy to clarify that the sale of consecrated hosts is a violation of the platform’s policies.
“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,” the petition said.
“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 recognized that Etsy does not screen individual listings, but said that “to prevent this happening again, we ask that Etsy add ‘Consecrated Hosts’ to their already strict list of prohibited items.”
By the following day, the petition had gained more than 7,500 signatures. Jess Kallberg, policy manager for Etsy, responded to the petition May 14, confirming that “the reselling of consecrated hosts is a violation of our policies.”
Etsy removed the “sold out” listing promptly upon being notified of it, she said.
Kallberg reiterated Etsy’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment, including for religious users.
She noted that listings are not pre-approved before appearing on the site.
“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,” she said. “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.”
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