I got this question from a reader (edited):
Dear Fr. Z,
I am a catholic from the Netherlands and I`m following youre blog for some time now. You must forgive me for my bat writing in English; I`m still Dutch.
I have some questions about valid hosts, wine and water. I think you are one of the few priest who can really give some practical answers to my questions; I`m a (part-time) sacristan and going to study for being priest in a few years; …
Question one: about the validity (spelled correctly?) of the Body and Blood of Christ: when you`ve got some particals from, say, the Body and it`s contaminated with something (like dust from the floor), that causes you for not consuming it. What should there be done with it? Burning isn`t always a practical option. I have heard that you can pour an amound of water by the host or wine, that makes it invalid. Is that thrue and if it is, what are the guidlines for such practice? (By the way: if you want to burn a consacrated host, should it be done by a priest?)
My second question is about holy water. When there is no priest around and you are in need of holy water, are you permitted to pour normal water by it, so that it is still valid? Like: one part of holy water on three parts of normal water? Or does that only works on water from, for example, Lourdes?
Thanks for youre time and answers.
Thanks for the questions. You English is better than my Dutch, so let’s stick to English.
Q 1) If a Host that was dropped has something on it, say, some dust from the floor, the best approach is simply to consume it. If for some reason you cannot, then the best approach it to put the Host in a small bowl or cup and then fill it with water. Allow the Host a couple days to disolve in the water. Then the water should be poured down the sacrarium, like a small sink with a tube that goes into the ground: every sacristry should have one. Otherwise, it should be poured onto the ground. For other sacred or consecrated things that must be disposed of, they should be burned. It is best if the priest does this himself. Again, if possible the remains should be put down the sacrarium or directly into the earth.
Q 2) "Extending" Holy Water is not a good idea. I suppose a tiny amount of added water might extend Holy Water, if absolutely necessary, but I would avoid it. The better approach is to plan ahead! Make sure Father blesses the Holy Water in sufficient quantities. It helps to have everything prepared ahead of time before he comes: lay out the book and stole and, if he is using the old Rituale Romanum the blessed salt (or salt to be exorcized and blessed). Have everything prepared so that when he arrives it is easy for him simply to take care of the blessing. Any priest worth his exorcized salt will be happy to do these things, but sometimes some priests of the more progressive stripe will resist dealing with sacramentals. By laying everything out, this sort of priest will have less to grouse about and will be more likely to do it.