'Crusader' takes on eBay to stop relics sales

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Hardly an hour goes by without Thomas Serafin or one of his cyber-sleuths checking what eBay has to offer.

They're not hunting for bargains and never place a bid. Their interest is bone shards, bits of wizened flesh and a contemporary twist on the sacred and the profane: How the ancient trade in the most coveted religious relics has moved into the global flea market of online bidding.

"You can find bone fragments supposedly from St. Augustine being hawked on the Internet along with trinkets and antiques. There is something very wrong here," said Serafin, a professional photographer and Catholic activist based in Los Angeles, who has led an expanding campaign since the late 1990s to block the online sale of objects purported to contain the remains of Christian saints.

Last month, Serafin's group, the International Crusade for Holy Relics, opened a new front that's truly worthy of a David and Goliath metaphor: a call to boycott eBay.

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