Holy Water usage for non-baptized?

Can a non-baptized individual use the holy water? Specifically when entering the church and performing the sign of the cross.

I am new to the forums and am currently undergoing RCIA. I have browsed/searched through catholic.com and have not an answer to the above question. If you can assist with reputable references, it will be greatly appreciated.


Hi there. First off welcome home :slight_smile:

Now I know you asked for references and unfortunately I don’t have them. But I do have my own experience. I went through RCIA and one of the things my director does is take all the inquirers on a tour through the church. He insisted that everyone including the non-baptized use the holy water with the sign of the cross when entering.

The holy water serves many purposes. The main one is to remind one of the baptismal promises and their profession of living for Christ. Another is blessing oneself with both the water and the simplest and most powerful prayer - the sign of the cross.

So while you are not baptized you will still receive the blessing involved as well as making a profession to Christ while you are entering his church in presence of His altar and tabernacle.

Enjoy your time in RCIA it is a great time for learning more about not only Christ’s Church but your own spiritual life as well


I agree with Coop13

The holy water is not a sacrament, but it is a sacramental and sacramentals can be used for blessings of both baptized an un baptized alike.

The Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ; most, but not all, of the sacramentals were instituted by the Church.

The Sacraments give grace of themselves and are always fruitful when the faithful place no spiritual obstacles in the way; the sacramentals excite pious dispositions, by means of which the faithful may obtain grace.

It is not the sacramental itself that gives grace, but the devotion, the love of God, or sorrow for sin that it inspires, and the prayers of the Church that render sacramentals efficacious against evil.

Although the Catholic Church restricts on the reception of the Sacraments by non-Catholics, this is not true of the sacramentals. The pious use of sacramentals by non-Catholics is permitted and encouraged.

As blessed objects or rituals that represent sacred beliefs and persons, disrespect to sacramentals is considered a form of sacrilege.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that sacramentals “do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church’s prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it.”

Yes, in anticipation of your Baptism, you would also receive Actual Grace with it’s use.

Would it then be fair to say that the average Hindu would not receive any grace from using the holy water out of politeness?

Not sanctifying grace (this comes through the Sacraments), but God can use sacramentals as a means of imparting actual graces (God’s “interventions” that may lead us to conversion or to do good works). Who knows what wonders God is working secretly in your “average Hindu” at that moment that will bear fruit later?

My fiance was the one that asked this question.

The reason we were wondering is because our RCIA instructor began to answer this question with “when I was younger they used to say that it was only for …but it’s okay to use it if you’re not…” which to us is now code for “this is what the Church teaches…but my opinion is [contradictory to what the Church teaches]…” so we were a bit worried.

Hmmm, in my opinion it is better to adhere to what the church teaches than the personal view of any RCIA conductor.

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