From a reader:
We recently had a bingo at our parish and the main prize for a raffle was a beautiful portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Prior to the bingo, the portrait was blessed by a priest. I know sacramentals can’t be sold (that’s why they are blessed after the item is sold), would the same rationale apply for a raffled item? Thanks.
I suspect that there was no intention on the part of the priest to cause confusion. The fact that he wanted people to know that the image was blessed is a clue that he has a good understanding that blessings are important.
I cannot tell the difference between a direct sale of a blessed image, and, on the other hand, an auction or a raffle.
We may not sell objects which are in themselves holy things (the Blessed Sacrament, relics) or things which have been consecrated or blessed (sacramentals, etc.). The sale of things which are in themselves holy is the sin of sacrilege. In the case of the sale of the Blessed Sacrament there is an automatic excommunication and the sin falls in the category of graviora delicta, more serious crimes, which have been in the spotlight recently. The sale of blessed objects causes them to lose their blessing and gives the impression that holy objects are for those who can afford them, or that holy things can be the objects of commerce.
I recommend that the person who obtained the painting take it to be blessed again. Also, in the future, should there be such a raffle, the priest should bless the objects after people have taken possession of them.