Monday, February 23, 2009

Time to Start Stocking Up... case you are unfortunate enough to attend a parish where they replace the holy water with kitty litter, sticks, sand, or nothing at all. (Question: how do they dispose of the holy water? Pour it down the drain?)

Fortunately, they do NOT empty out the fonts at St. John's Cathedral. Still, there are parishes here and there where they do empty out the fonts. In case I visit a parish during Lent that happens to have no holy water, I am always prepared to remedy the situation. You should be too.

Today Fr. Z. posts a note from the Congregation for Divine Worship, dated nine years ago, on the question of depriving the faithful of holy water during Lent. Basically, forcing the faithful to "abstain" from holy water during Lent is a no-no (emphases mine):

March 14, 2000

Dear Father:

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 the [sic] 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,
Mons. Mario Marini [Now the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei]
Not only is it a no-no, "abstaining" from holy water is just plain dumb. Holy water is the hydrogen bomb of spiritual warfare. And unlike the United States, heaven has no Rosenbergs to sell the secret to the other side.

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