Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Don't Get Too Surprised When Sand Gets In Your Eyes
"Holy water is a sacramental. It is not a toy, or something to be abstained from, like chocolate …. which is the stuff of a childish Lent." - Father John Zuhlsdorf

A few days ago, I was present at a certain church where the Holy Water fonts now double as cigarette butt disposal cans, much like the one pictured below, sans explanation of theological immaturity.



But I shouldn't be all that shocked -- they also had lil' party favor puppets up by the altar, or butcher block... or whatever that picnic table's called.

So anyhoo, does The Church forbid removal of Holy Water from the fonts? Well.... The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments thinks so. Here's a response to a very same question posed (dated March 14, 2000).

But first, know that the response reaffirmed the traditional practice that the holy water font is empty only during the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday) in preparation for the blessing of new water during the Easter Vigil (H/T Adoremus.org); (Emphasis mine)

CONGREGATION DE CULTU DIVINO ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUM

Prot. N. 569/00/L

Dear Father:

March 14, 2000

This Congregation for Divine Worship has received your letter sent by fax in which you ask whether it is in accord with liturgical law to remove the Holy Water from the fonts for the duration of the season of Lent.

This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:

1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being praeter legem is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance, is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.

2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of her sacraments and sacramentals is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The "fast" and "abstinence" which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church.

The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday).

Hoping that this resolves the question and with every good wish and kind regard, I am,

Sincerely yours in Christ, [signed]

Mons. Mario Marini
Undersecretary
And I really like what Father Zuhlsdorf says about the whole farce;


The rite of blessing holy water, in the older ritual, is powerful stuff. It sounds odd, nearly foreign to our modern ears, especially after over 30 years of being force fed ICEL pabulum.

Holy Water is a power weapon of the spiritual life against the attacks of the devil.

You do believe in the existence of the Enemy, ... right?
You know you are a soldier and pilgrim in a dangerous world, ... right?

So why… why… why would these liturgists and priests REMOVE a tool of spiritual warfare precisely during the season of LENT when we need it the most??

Holy water is a sacramental. It is for our benefit. It is not a toy, or something to be abstained from, like chocolate or television.

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