Holy Water

In the Byzantine tradtion, there is the Greater Blessing of Water that is held on 5-6 January and the Lesser Blessing of Water that is held at other times.

Both go on for pages and pages and take at LEAST a half hour, or longer if celebrated fully with all the repetitions.

There is no exorcism or salt in either.

Would any be so silly as to suggest that a Latin priest makes stronger juju than a Byzantine priest?

Holy Water is Holy Water.

In the traditional rite, the priest, through the power of Holy Orders, exorcises and blesses the salt and water. In the Novus Ordo rite, the presbyter invokes no priestly power, but merely expresses a hope.
In the traditional rite, the priest addresses God. In the Novus Ordo rite, the presbyter addresses the people.
In the traditional rite, the priest exorcizes the salt and water for repelling what is of Satan. In the Novus Ordo rite, the presbyter never refers to Satan.
In the traditional rite, the priest makes the Sign of the Cross twelve times over the elements (perhaps in reference to the number of Apostles) in the exorcisms and blessings. In the New Order rite, the presbyter makes only one Sign of the Cross.
In the traditional rite, the priest explicitly refers to the Holy Ghost. In the Novus Ordo rite, the presbyter refers only to a "spirit to whom we have accepted."
In the traditional rite, the priest exorcizes and blesses the water “to bring health of mind and body and to drive off the malice and snares of the devil.”

en.allexperts.com/q/Catholics-955/Holy-Water.htm

I just returned from a meeting with my priest. During this meeting, he blessed some salt, water, and oil that I brought to him. He then combined the salt and water and proceeded with the blessing rite.

My priest used the traditional rites to bless my Holy Water and oil.

I don’t know if we can classify it exclusively as a “pre Vatican II blessing” Jsmith17, because it is still used today. Its use is not as common as before, but it is still used today.

The question you asked doesn’t appear to always have such a clear cut answer.

Rev. Albert Joseph Mary Shamon’s booklet
(1992 CMJ MARIAN PUBLISHERS, Oak Lawn Illinois) “** Our Lady Teaches About Sacramentals and Blessed Objects**” ,contains the formula for the blessing & exorcism of the salt and the water. On page 22 of the booklet Fr. Shamon gives a personal opinion which is not quite a direct answer to your question, but very close.

Bear in mind while reading the following quote from Fr. Shamon that he is expressing his “personal preference” here:

"…The Holy Water derives its power from the prayers of the Church. The Church is the Bride of Christ and he always hears his Spouse…

“…To grasp some idea of the power of Holy Water, one ought to ponder on the prayer-formula of the Church, used by the priest, in blessing Holy Water*.[He is referring to the formula which includes the prayers of exorcism for the salt and water here]*
The prayer formula is a bit lengthy, but I prefer it to merely making the Sign of the Cross over the water. The Sign of the Cross gives us blessed water, but the prayer-formula gives us Holy Water…”

Great answer!

I’ve seen several formulae which have slight variations. One has the Sign of the Cross 12 times as you said. Another has the Sign of the Cross 10 times.

The difference in the two is that in the first the priest pours the exorcised salt into the water in the form of a cross three times saying once: “Let the salt and the water mingle together in the name of the + Father and of the + Son and of the + Holy Ghost. Amen” , (or " May a mixture of water now be made in the name of the + Father and of the + Son and of the + Holy Spirit. Amen.").

But in the second formula the salt is only poured into the water once in the form of a cross while the same prayer is said.

Aside form the fact that he seemingly only deals largely with the introductory monition and not with the prayer texts…

quote]In the traditional rite, the priest, through the power of Holy Orders, exorcises and blesses the salt and water. In the Novus Ordo rite, the presbyter invokes no priestly power, but merely expresses a hope.

I’m presume that the “power of the Holy Orders” comes from the imprecatory tone. But it is only when exorcising that the priest uses the imprecatory “Exorcizo te” – which is of course, customary for an exorcism-text (unless one counts the somewhat new-fangled deprecatory texts). The Traditional blessings for the salt and water are themselves deprecatory, just like in the new rite. Deprecatory texts can be said to express hope since they request the blessing from God

In the traditional rite, the priest addresses God. In the Novus Ordo rite, the presbyter addresses the people.

Only for the introductory monition which does not have a counterpart in the Traditional rite (unless you count Adiutorium nostrum as one).

In the traditional rite, the priest exorcizes the salt and water for repelling what is of Satan. In the Novus Ordo rite, the presbyter never refers to Satan.

This is only partially true. For example, in the exorcism of water the devil is referenced when it is said “ut fias aqua exorcizata ad effugandam omnem potestatem inimici, et ipsum inimicum eradicare” [that you may become water exorcised for driving away all power of the enemy, and to root out the enemy himself] and again in the blessing “discedant omnes insidiae latentis inimici”.

“Inimici” is also used in the new prayers- in the blessing of salt (“omni impugnatione inimici depulsa”) and in one of the prayers for use outside Eastertide (“omnes morbos inimicique insidias tuae defensionem”). Moreover “what is of Satan” also equally refers to “all evil in body and spirit” which is also found.

In the traditional rite, the priest explicitly refers to the Holy Ghost. In the Novus Ordo rite, the presbyter refers only to a “spirit to whom we have accepted.” Is this the Holy Ghost, the “spirit of Vatican II,” or some other “spirit”?

Clearly the Holy Spirit since it is captalised. The Holy Spirit is also named in the blessing of the salt.

In the traditional rite, the priest exorcizes and blesses the water “to bring health of mind and body and to drive off the malice and snares of the devil.” In the New Order, the Holy Water is a memorial to baptism, much as in the worship service, the bread and wine are a memorial, not the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is fortunate that the gentleman who wrote the article has read the book by Fr. Sullivan whom he quotes earlier – if we were to look further down in the section on Holy Water, he would read:

The Asperges, or sprinkling of the congregation on Sunday, has a mystical meaning of its own. It renews every Sunday the memory of Baptism, by which we have been sanctified and purified from sin…….

But consider also the words of the prayers themselves

A- “ab omni malo spiritus et corporis per ipsam nos defendi concedas”
B- adversus omnes morbos inimicique insidias tuae defensionem…… omnis corporis animaeque pericula devitemus

Is it not asking for protection of mind and body from evil and the attacks of the enemy?

Anyone can see what is going on here. The Novus Ordo rite, just like the rite of its worship service, implicitly denies the power of Satan, implicitly denies the power of Holy Orders, implicitly denies any effective action on the part of the blessed salt and water

He *might *have been on surer ground if he was talking about the Blessing of Water outside Mass.

The difference arises due to revisions. The rubrics were altered in 1953 and again in 1962 with the publication of the new missal. The changes in the text involved the reducing of one cross to three, as you noted, in the commixtion. The other textual change was the ommission of “et sanc+tificare” from the blessing of salt.

Very interesting discussion. One thing I’d like to add, having read that comparison that JSmith17 posted (and which can be applied to the whole OF vs. EF discussion), is the ancient saying:

Lex orandi, lex credendi.

Catholictrain said:

It is God’s love and mercy and His infinite power that makes the water holy.

This is true. On the other hand it would seem that the older form takes the blessing more seriously while the never form seems to say (IMHO, IMHO, IMHO!!!) “God’ll make this water holy no matter how flippantly I bless it” Did I mention that that is my own opinion? Still, I think the latin statement I quoted above would seem to have some bearing on this discussion.

I know that I personally take it more seriously when I read the formula…it encourages me to be more bold and use it in more ways…kind of awakens the imagination to the power at hand:

Quantum Potes Tantum Aude

The exorcism of the salt (which is added added to Holy Water) is biblical and gives this sacramental it’s efficacy in driving out the devil and his influence. I guess I would ask “Why was it changed?” Why was the explicit exhortation to drive out the devil deleted from the formula? Perhaps it was for the same reason that the Leonide prayers after Mass were dropped in the 60’s - because the devil was no longer considered a tangeable problem in the modern church? Whatever the reason, someone felt it was unnecessary or outdated or out-something.

The intent of using Holy Water is the same as using exorcised salt in the Old Testament, to drive out the devil when no Prophet or Priest or Levite or otherwise ordained person was available to do it personally. The people used (salt) it in their homes and daily lives. The Traditional Rituale gives Holy Water it’s sacramental character to ward off the devil. So, if we’ve deleted the power of exorcism that Holy Water (and one of its components, salt) originally provided by both deleting the salt and the exhortation, what more is it than blessed water?

I take Holy Water with me when I travel and I bless my hotel room before I sleep in it. How many people even have Holy Water at home these days?

For the record I keep holy water both at home and at work.

Also, just for the record, if someone tells me my holy water is less effective than another blessed with an older formula then I start to wonder if the other person is thinking in terms of magic.

Hmmm. Do you think that the rite of exorcism is magic? Would a priest who is performing an exorcism use “grace before meals” to perform an exorcism and expect it to have the same efficacy?

So if you use Holy Water to bless yourself as an act of reverence when entering and exiting the church or your bedroom, you are certainly blessed. If you use it as a sacramental to ward off the devil, the new rite has specifically removed the heavenly petition to so empower it.

I guess the only thing left for us to do is to ask a priest who performs exorcisms which ‘brand’ of holy water is effective against the devil. If the exorcist tells us that he uses a different prayer to bless the water that he uses in the exorcism than the prayer that is used to bless the water sitting in the vestibule of my Catholic parish church, then I will be convinced. Otherwise, I will continue with my delusion that holy water is holy water is holy water. I’m stubborn that way. :wink:

Actually, stubborn is my middle name!

My point in the exorcism analogy was, regardless of whether a priest used the high octane Holy Water or low-sodium Holy Water , he wouldn’t perform an exorcism without asking for the devil to be exorcised or driven out of the person. We petition the Lord for what we desire - as Our Lord asked that we do. We ceased in our petition that Holy Water be a weapon to ward off the devil. Maybe the Lord rewards this arrogance, if perhaps He sees it that way, by not listening so intently to our petitions. You can’t deny that we have become a very self-centered and introspective lot in this century, especially regarding our devotion to Christ and His Mother. And the extreme to which society has strayed in its debauchery gives the impression that the Lord is leaving society to its own devices until He comes to “clean us up”, so to speak.

In the final analysis, of the course, the Lord will do what he will do but we can’t overlook the efficacy of sacramentals like the water that flows at Lourdes. Not holy water in that case, nor a talisman, nor magic, but certainly with a healing power for those of faith. But it takes the combination of faith and that particular water to effect the miracle that other water doesn’t accomplish. So Our Lord, in His mercy, appears to at least in this case, distinguish between the sacramental nature of this water and all other ‘holy’ water.

But our Roman Catholic faith is rich and beautiful in the many ways which Our Lord has provided us opportunities to obtain grace and fight Satan, who certainly seems to have the upper hand in most of the world.

I bet our Protestant friends love watching threads like this!

Just think of the threads we have seen.
My mass is better than your mass
My water is holier than yours.
My priest is better than yours.
This pope was better than that pope.
and on and on.
Kind of reminds me of the epistle of Paul wherein he confronts the early Christians. I am of Apollos. I am of James, etc. You ever get the feeling we are back there all over again.
Prayers & blessings
Deacon Ed B

Great points Deacon Ed!!!

Heyyy!!!.. You forgot - “Our thread’s Deacon is better than your thread’s Deacon.”

 :thumbsup:

No … its “… my Deacon is more transitional than your Deacon!”

Where’s the “permanence” in that ? :smiley:

A blessing is a blessing is a blessing.
:thumbsup:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.