ASK FATHER: Re-bless a ring that has been re-plated?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

I have a sterling silver ring from a private vow I made a number of years ago. My spiritual director who witnessed my vow blessed my ring using the Blessing for any object from the Roman Ritual. Over the years it has become scratched and lost its shininess, so I was going to take it in to the jeweller to get polished and possibly plated with rhodium. Would doing this cause my ring to lose its blessing and require re-blessing? (Supposedly getting a chalice re-plated inside requires it to be consecrated again, which is where my thoughts on this are coming from).

You mention the case of the chalice.  While some authors are divided, the strong consensus is that, if you gild the cup again, then – yes – the chalice must be reconsecrated before use.  I know about “simply use the chalice and it will be consecrated again” blah blah.  We are not minimalists.  Our objects for worship are important.  We are our rites.  Let’s be more of who we are rather than less.

In the case of your ring, sure… have it plated.  In that case, you could have it blessed again.   But the blessing of that ring isn’t quite the same as the consecration of a chalice.   It not hurt anything to bless the ring again.  Necessary? Probably not.

On the other hand, that ring has been through lots of experiences with you and it shows wear just like you do.  Spouses show wear to each other (and cause the wear) and they stick it out… sometimes without facelifts, if you get my drift.

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4 Responses to ASK FATHER: Re-bless a ring that has been re-plated?

  1. Fr_Andrew says:

    Father,

    The matter of the chalice re-plating was solved by the 1917 Codex Juris Canonici (Canon 1305 §1) :

    Calix et patena non amittunt consecrationem ob consumptionem vel renovationem auraturae, salva tamen, priore in casu, gravi obligatione rursum ea inaurandi.

    Matters Liturgical (n. 94, 97) says this was a change to the pre-Code understanding. Before the 1917 code it was considered that re-guilding meant that consecration was lost. Perhaps you are thinking of pre-Code authors, since after the Code, with such clear legislation, it is certain that a chalice or paten do not lose their consecration by guilding.

    As far as I know this is the last legislation on the issue, the 1983 Code does not repeat this, but seeing as it was the long-standing norm and Canon 18, it seems that the 1917 Code practice be maintained and we not revert to the pre-Code notion. Thus chalices would not lose their consecration by being polished or re-plated.

    Matters Liturgical also mentions the “consecration” by use, which it specifically reprobates. Every author that speaks of it is clear a chalice and paten are to be consecrated with Chrism, not the Precious Blood, and using a rite for consecration, not some mere contact.

    Hope these ossified manualistic references help.

    [The Codes reflect theological understandings. I think that we need more rather than fewer consecrations.]

  2. frjim4321 says:

    Interesting.

    I had a convalidation on Saturday and was a little unsure about having them removing their rings, blessing them, and putting them back on.

    Sometimes I have simply blessed them, having them remain on their hands.

    My thinking is, they have already exchanged them, and it’s really not a part of the matter or form of the sacrament, and not a part of canonical form either.

    I really don’t know what to do.

    [Since we are’t angels, we need these signs as reminders of moments that took place and interior realities that changed in those moments. In Italian, by the way, the wedding ring is familiarly called “la fede… the faith”, also in the sense of fidelity. Making something of the rings is a good thing.]

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  4. Titus says:

    Wedding rings, of course, are traditionally gold, which does not tarnish. Some people today use platinum, which I believe has the same characteristic. Their inert character makes them best for long-wearing wedding bands: not only because, on a practical level, they do not degrade, but because, on a symbolic level, they remain constant.

    Silver will tarnish, but sterling silver, as opposed to silver plate, is infinitely amenable to polishing. Plating it with an inert medal like rhodium would save the trouble of polishing while the plate remained intact, but it will wear (and likely wear unevenly), eventually resulting in an uneven surface.