QUAERITUR: What to do with occult objects?

From a reader:

When you discover you have an occult or new age object in your house, do you burn it or do you douse it with Holy Water and throw it away? I know you are busy, but a response would be greatly appreciated.

Destroy them.

Destroy them.

Destroy them.

Then get Father to come to bless the house, going from room to room, with Holy Water.

I suggest always that Father use the older Rituale Romanum with the whole rite of exorcism of water and salt and then the blessing of a home.

It would be good for everyone in the house to make a good confession, because sacraments are more terrifying and painful for demons than sacramentals, which already open up a can of whoop-ass on them.

You can also keep Holy Water in your house and the exorcized bless salt, which you might distribute in rooms and even outside.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you might be saying, with little quivers of doubt about your modernist, immanentist, fluffy catholic view, “You sound positively medieval!  We’ve outgrown all this nonsense! Demons?  Blessings?  Salt?  Give us a break!”

The demonic world is real and it is no joke.  You ignore them are your great peril.

The demonic modus operandi concerns itself with attachment to material things.  Their activity can be quite localized and entrenched.  These material beachheads can then lead to greater spiritual invasion.

Do not underestimate the Enemy, lest, you wind up rotting in Hell with them for eternity.

At the same time, in our Savior, the holy angels, the intercession of the saints, our Blessed Mother, Joseph, Terror of Demons, and the use of sacramentals and, especially, the sacraments of Penance and reception of the Eucharist, we have a magnificent and holy fortress.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Spaniard says:

    I uses to hace some, that belonged to my mother. She did not want to get rid of them, but the parish priest said they ought to go, so my father and I made it look like an accident. We got the house blessed and the atmosphere changed radically!!

  2. backtothefuture says:

    Any occult object should be burned and theown into running water like a river or stream. Then take fathers advice and have the house blessed, and always have exorcised water and salt around the house. You might have to find a more traditional minded priest in order to have the salt and water exorcised. Many priests unfortunately don’t have a clue on spiritual warfare.

  3. Cafea Fruor says:

    This might seem like a stupid question, but do you have to own your home to have it blessed, or can I, as a condo renter, have a priest bless my unit? None of my acquaintances who rent has ever mentioned getting their place blessed, just those folks who own, so I wasn’t sure if that’s because renters just don’t think of that whereas homeowners would, or if maybe a renters can’t have their apartments blessed because they aren’t the owners.

    [Ask the priest to come to bless the condo.]

  4. 7bellachildren says:

    I need to get some more clarification. My children have pj’s that have the peace symbol on, what about things like that? What about books, we have a book of Mormon(just for fyi), Frank Peretti books- would those things be included too?

  5. Bosco says:

    I have had 2 rosaries given to me (as a surprise gift) by a friend of mine who had been to Medjugorje. They may or may not have been blessed there by a priest (maybe). In any event I personally believe that there are demonic elements at work at Medjugorje and if the ‘apparitions’ are in future deemed not worthy of belief or worse, am I harbouring 2 occult objects in my home, i.e. those rosaries? [I doubt it.]

  6. The Masked Chicken says:

    “This might seem like a stupid question, but do you have to own your home to have it blessed, or can I, as a condo renter, have a priest bless my unit?”

    I had an apartment I lived in blessed. A friend had a condo blessed (in a complex). Yes, you can. In fact, it is a good idea. You don’t know who’s lived there before you.

    The Chicken

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If you’re worried about the Medj rosaries, just have them blessed again here. “Spoils of the Egyptians” are fair game. That said, even a bad priest acting for bad reasons can bless a rosary. So if you need to get rid of it, treat it like a sacramental from respect for that, even if you don’t have reason to respect any of the rest of it. (If I recall correctly, sacramentals get burned, or broken and buried.)

    Throwing bad occult things into running water is of course traditional (on the folk side), but a bit hard on the running water. Don’t put in anything that physically would kill the fish.

    If you have the Book of Mormon for learning to fight against the Book of Mormon, that’d be different than if you have it sitting around as a temptation. Frank Peretti books contain ideas which aren’t sound because of his brand of Protestantism, but there’s nothing occult about him and his works that I ever heard of.

  8. Find a priest who is open to the idea of blessing things out of the Rituale Romanum and then bring him a box of salt and a few gallons of water to bless.

  9. Bosco says:

    @suburbanbanshee I appreciate the advice but when Medjugorje likely implodes, even were I to have had a priest bless the rosaries with all their various Medjugorje and Gospa inscriptions on the medal, I’d feel as comfortable praying on them as if I had Bayside beads clacking around in my pocket.
    By the way ‘Banshee’ greetings to you from the village of Cahermuckee (42 souls) in the County of Cork, Eire where I make my home.

    [If you don’t want them around, get rid of them.]

  10. DisturbedMary says:

    What makes something a new age object?

  11. Konichiwa says:

    This brought up a memory. I have a large piece of quartz crystal from many years ago. The guy I bought it from said that it has healing powers, but I didn’t care for superstition. I just like rocks and crystals so I bought it. Would it suffice to have the crystal blessed or something? Would it be necessary to have the house blessed again? It’s my parents house so I would just rather go there and sprinkle holy water all over the place. But I’ll do what I gotta do.

  12. CatholicByChoice says:

    Please, may I ask a question that has disturbed me for some time regarding the practice of burying statues of St. Joseph upside down in the yard in order to sell a house. It seems to me that this is straight from the enemy, who I think would be thrilled to have St. Joseph treated in this manner. [ARGH! No.]
    My rule-of-thumb has been: if I wouldn’t do it to a statue of Jesus or Mary, then I should not do it to a statue of St. Joseph. A woman in my bible study class said that she does it and it works, and her attitude was “since it works, it must be a good thing.” My reply was that maybe it was the enemy that was helping to sell the house so that people would continue to abuse St. Joseph and the practice would spread.

    I am confused that this practice seems to be supported by the Church as many church gift shops actually sell statues of St. Joseph with instructions to bury it upside down to sell a house. It just doesn’t seem right to me. Am I wrong?

    Thank you for any guidance you may offer!

    [Don’t do these things.]

  13. Jennifer B.D. says:

    Not sure if considered new age or not, but I have a small buddha statue that was given to me as a gift after someone bought it on their vacation. I don’t remember where they went. As far as I know it was bought in a gift shop or souvenir shop. What should I do with it? [I wouldn’t want one, but I wouldn’t worry much about it.]

  14. marypatricia says:

    Here is a link to a very informative article about burying St Joseph-
    If you want any more information just google ” Burying St Joseph.” You will see that it is definitely not a Catholic thing to do.

  15. future_sister says:

    from personal experience, douse in Old Rite Holy Water then have a nice bonfire. I’m actually a former Wiccan… I’m still finding things that I need to get rid of. Unfortunately they’re very good at hiding themselves.
    I know of an instance where someone left a deck of Tarot cards on the steps of the priest’s rectory at the TLM parish I go to…. His nephew found them and they had a field day. Their whole family takes spiritual warfare seriously. They took them out by the dumpster, doused them in Old Rite Holy Water and burned them. They burned very reluctantly… and blue… yeah…. well, they finally went, but it took a long time.
    A religious friend of mine was visiting me and he found Satanic books in our parish library here on campus. Poor guy, he wanted to take them and burn them, but he’s got obedience very well ingrained and he knew it wasn’t his library, and he’s not a priest yet. Unfortunately none of our priests were around so we hid them and I gave them to the priests the next day… and they “found nothing theologically wrong with them” and were questioning the sanity of my friend, despite the fact that my friend’s order specifically deals with deliverance ministry and I researched the books and found they are definitely satanic. This friend has become my spiritual director as I come out from dealing with the results of my forays into witchcraft. It’s also the reason why I attend the TLM as often as possible. The priest out their is the only priest who I have found who believes my stories, (the priests on campus “Just remember God is love and it will all be ok”) and he keeps me well stocked with Old Rite Holy Water, blessed and exorcized salt, stubs of altar candles, and is an amazing confessor.

  16. future_sister says:

    my comment was just in general on the best way to destroy any New Age and/or occult things. In this context occult referring to things of the enemy

  17. Jean Marie says:

    Would anything Native American be considered occult – like a dream catcher? I get these things in the mail sometimes and ironically from some Catholic missions.

  18. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If you don’t want to have something around your house, you’re allowed to trash it or destroy it. Better safe than sorry, and also better not to have worries on your mind. Be decisive if it bugs you; it’s your right.

    OTOH, intentions count for a lot. The Vatican Museums include lots of pagan stuff, both as historical and art objects, and yeah, “spoils of the Egyptians” applies. That said, if you have a Buddha statue as an art object, historical object, or souvenir, that’s a lot different thing than if you have a Buddha because you or somebody in your house flirted with Buddhism.

    But yeah, good riddance to bad rubbish if you find something that worries you.

  19. backtothefuture says:

    Oujia boards are no joke. Even some that are involved in the occult stay away from them. Research the history on these things. Jennifer bd, even if you dont believe in buddha, id still get rid of it. Its still an idol. The occult is not to be toyed with. You cant be curious about it either. Once you open that proverbial pandora’s box, you cant just close it and walk away. I suggest reading some of father Amorths books.

  20. future_sister says:

    re: Jean Marie from my experience it depends. Sometimes people have them purely for decoration and hold no superstitious qualities with them. But the issue is in how they are sometimes made. If it is a true dream catcher it was made by a Native American as they are the only ones “allowed to” and they often have special “prayers” they say while making them, and they “put their spirit” into them so I would be careful. Actually, I have one somewhere in my stuff I need to find and destroy, it was made for me by a Native American friend of mine and he’s the one who told me about how they make them. So since he did who knows what to it spiritually and I have no clue what’s attached to it in the spiritual realm I’m destroying it. Thank you for the reminder. but yeah, if it was made for the sole intent of decoration, it should be fine.

  21. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The vast majority of dreamcatchers are just crafter tat (and cheap at that — all you need is a hoop, rocks, and string). If somebody seriously thinks it’s the gate of ivory and gate of horn thing going on, then it would be an occult object, or possibly just a pagan religious object.

    But if you don’t like it and think it’s hinky somehow (or just think it’s tacky crud, for that matter), you don’t have to have it and you can get rid of it.

    That said, it’s amusing how many Native American practices of tribes from the missions are closely related to Catholic Spanish customs, Catholic French customs, etc. There’s a lot of ignorance about what’s pagan and what’s just Christianity from back 400 years.

  22. I switch on the moderation queue.

  23. Cardinal Francis Arinze has his usual amusing approach – Can we eat food cooked by Buddhists – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iix5v1ytwBA

    That said, I tend to get a lot of my stuff (especially when moving into my new house) from house content sales – very entertaining process, and you find all sorts of nice things. Divorces and emigrations, but also the estates of deceased people. I saw a really lovely wooden kist once, and my immediate reaction was that something was very wrong with it. I’ve seen ornaments as well that I reacted that way to. Those were mostly black rock/wood things. Possibly psychological, maybe something really was wrong with them. Had I not had that reaction, I might have taken them. I also collect all the books of Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness stuff so nobody else can buy it … always useful too for my apologetics attempts.

  24. monmir says:

    Could a crucifix belonging to a priest who died , which was abandonned in a church storage and given to me, be bad news? Since I had some suspicion I tried to offer Mass for the priest, unfortunately the secretary at the church mixed up the intention, I then offered a plenary indulgence for the priest. What else? I was a little reluctant to get rid of it because it is a crucifix. [I wouldn’t worry about this one.]

  25. CatholicByChoice says:

    Thank you Father Z and MaryPatricia for your response to my question. I appreciate it!

  26. APX says:

    Cafea Fruor,

    I am a renter and I’ve had my apartment blessed at the request of my other roommate after the girl renting the room I’m in was kicked out for engaging in gross sins contrary to Natural law. I thoroughly did not object to that request. :)

    It’s a little more tricky when you’re a woman because you have to have at least one other person there with some priests.

    Also, depending on your roommates, it’s also an excellent way to eat an actual meal together with other people and engage in intellectually stimulating conversation if you invite your priest to eat after.

    If you do it after Epiphany, you get a more solemn and involved blessing, though be weary of smoke detectors and incense, especially if every unit gets set off, and it’s attached to the fire station…

  27. monmir says:

    Father, you have the best blog. Serious matters and entertaining. Liturgy, canon law, birds and star walk. Thank you for your answers and for all the work you put into your blog.

  28. Pingback: Pope Francis on Atheism - Big Pulpit

  29. JonPatrick says:

    I noticed some references in the comments to “Old Rite holy water”. Is there much difference in how Holy Water is blesses in the old rite vs. the new rite? I have been using holy water from our local Novus Ordo parish here at home, because for various reasons it is harder to get from the EF chapel we attend. The local NO parish does have solid orthodox priests though.

  30. Athanasius says:

    Be careful when destroying stuff, get advice from an experienced exorcist. Things like fortunas, amulets, satanic bibles (noted for upside down Latin which usually have multiple levels of curses put on them) and other occult materials should be burned, but the ashes ought not be buried on your property or put down the drain because this has had bad effects such as pipes bursting or other problems. Make sure to get your house and person blessed, or have a priest do Title 11 ch. 3 of the old ritual (which any priest can do) to help root out any oppression issues which could result from handling the stuff.

  31. Scarltherr says:

    Future Sister,
    It’s been 20 years since my involvement in the occult, and every time I do a purge of items around my home, (blessed), I still find things that need to be removed, and destroyed. I also find that my sacramentals will go into hiding at times for no apparent reason. Stay vigilant!

  32. Scarltherr says:

    P.S. In those twenty years, I’ve moved 13 times. I think I’ve removed it all in every move and then something else turns up. Sticky little buggers. St. Michael the Archangel, Defend us in battle!!!

  33. backtothefuture says:

    John, the old rite water they’re talking about is exorcised. Water in most churches today is just blessed. Exorcised water is against evil.

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