From a reader…
I am currently serving at a parish as a transitional deacon. On Thursday I noticed along with the parishioners that the Holy Water was removed from the entrance of the church. They were looking all around for it and asked me where it went. I learned that the pastor had removed it because we are in the “desert days” of Lent. [Dumb! Dumb! DUMB!] Even the laity knew that the water is only removed during Holy Week. [After the Holy Thursday Mass.] They are afraid to speak up. What would be the best way to approach the pastor to bring this up? I offered to bless some water for the people if they wanted some. Thoughts?
Thoughts? Yes, I have some thoughts. In the past I have called this “Dumb liberal idea #3464 = Reason #583739 for Summorum Pontificum”.
Each year we are seeing a lessening of liturgical stupidity, as those of a certain age go to their retirement or reward (the so-called “Biological Solution”) and young people with less strange liturgical baggage step into their positions. Nevertheless, some aberrations continue. One particularly dumb and annoying liturgical oddity is the removal of holy water from stoups during Lent.
If you are a new Catholic or catechumen and haven’t yet seen that, just remember that the people doing this, … know not what they do.
To all the priests out there still… unbelievably still putting sand in holy water fonts during Lent…
KNOCK IT OFF!
I’ll rant for a bit later, but in the meantime someone put this question to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. They responded. Enjoy.
The emphases are mine:
Prot. N. 569/00/L
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 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 [Later, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, now with God.]
Did you get the part where the Congregation said: “is not permitted”?
Holy water is a sacramental.
We get the powerful theology of its use in the older Roman Ritual in the prayers for exorcism of the water and salt used and then the blessing itself. The rite of blessing holy water, in the older ritual, is powerful stuff. It sounds odd, nearly foreign to our modern ears, especially after decades of being force fed Novus Ordo pabulum.
Holy Water is a power weapon of the spiritual life against the attacks of the devil.
I would ask these priests:
- 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.
So, don’t stand for this nonsense. If the Holy Water has been removed… clamor for its return!