Is Holy Water actually "Holy"?


#1

In one of the Liturgy classes at the school I attend, the professor was making mention that since Vatican II, the teaching on the blessings of objects, water, religious 'things' (i.e. rosaries, crucifixes, etc.) is not actually real. Instead, they just serve as representing the 'holy' in our own mindset. For example, the "holy water" in church is not actually holy but because it reminds you of your baptism, and by dipping your hand in the water you think of blessing yourself, that is enough. For my professor, dipping your hand in a holy water font and Lake Huron is the same thing, as long as you are reminded or think about God.

My initial reaction is that this is ridiculous. People always get things blessed because it does in fact make them set apart from the usual things we encounter daily.(Right?) However, what I'm being told is that priests don't bless these things anymore. Is this true?? I'm so confused!!


#2

Yes it is *holy *water.

Really.


#3

scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c4a1.htm

vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P48.HTM

catholicreference.net/index.cfm?id=33979

catholicreference.net/index.cfm?id=36179


#4

and aaaa…the demons during exorcism are quite aware of the difference between blessed (holy) water and tap water or from Lake Huron …(they prefer for their comfort the later)

(as exorcists will tell you such as Fr. Fortea who is an expert on the subject and an exorcist himself)

And the rite has not only Holy Water involved but yes other sacramentals such as a crucifix…


#5

Um, no, it is holy because it is a blessed item.

Your professor is way off base.


#6

If the priest does not bless the holy water anymore, I report it to the bishop. If not, an e-mail to the Vatican sounds like a good plan! :smiley:
But as far as I know, the Holy Water is blessed, and the “blessing” makes it holy.


#7

He’s wrong, you’re right.

There’s still a Book of Blessings in use. We had our house blessed - we made it a houseblessing party rather than a housewarming. And once we casually mentioned to our pastor that we had just bought a new car and he insisted we hang around until he was done greeting people after Mass so he could bless it for us. Since then, I’ve seen him out n the parking lot after Mass more than a few times.

It’s not symbolic. Go ask this professor why the baptismal font has a drain to earth rather than to the sanitary sewer if there’s nothing special about the water in it.


#8

HOLY WATER is a means of Spiritual Wealth

Used in FAITH Holy Water is a Sacramental that remits Venial Sin
Because of the Blessing attached to it, the Holy Catholic Church
strongly urges its use upon her children, especially when dangers
threaten, such as fires, storms, sickness and other calamities.

Those who do not take advantage of the benefits derived from Holy Water are lacking in Faith.

The Church inspires us to always cultivate its use, though many seem to give it little thought.

If we realized now, as we shall after death, the many benefits which may be derived from Holy Water, we would use it more frequently, and with great Faith and Reverence.

Holy Water has its great power and efficacy from prayers of the Church, which
its Divine Founder “Jesus Christ” always accepts willingly.


#9

Your professor is off base. Holy water is holy because it has been blessed. :christmastree1:


#10

I feel pedantic because I just posted it in a different thread but I think that this booklet (pre-VII) would be good reading for your instructor.

Sacramentals

I also think that if your instructor is correct than he should be able to support his statements by directly referencing the documents from VII. :rolleyes:


#11

That seems to be a common sentiment these days. At least, I've encountered it. Had a priest correct me once when I attributed some spiritual effect to a sacramental and tell me it was just a symbol of my faith.


#12

A spiritual effect involves your Faith, and the Faith and intercession of the Church (blessing), and for example the intercession of the Saint etc.

But he would be incorrect if he thinks it is only a symbol (perhaps something got lost in translation…)


#13

It is my understanding that “set apart for a sacred purpose” is pretty much the definition of “holy”.

Since blessed objects are set apart for a sacred purpose then they are, by definition, holy.

I do understand that priests worry that people will think that blessed objects are magic or will use them superstitiously.


#14

Right --such would be contrary to the Church.


#15

Like some of the people coming to our Church baptismal font to get holy water with one gallon jugs.


#16

Catechism

2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.


#17

Fr. Z. had a to-do a while ago about changes in the Book of Blessings. Supposedly the blessing used for holy water is no longer invocative but supplicative, so he prefers to use the older form of the blessing. Perhaps that’s what he was thinking of?


#18

#19

If the priest isn’t going to bless the holy water, there is really no point in having any. :rolleyes: I don’t that the professor has any idea of what he is talking about.

The OP should talk to his priest directly and ask him if the water is blessed and how and when it is done. I highly recommend that people use holy water in their homes also. Many (most) parishes have a special urn where parishioners can fill small bottles with holy water to take home.


#20

What do these people say they are going to do with the holy water? If you just see them filling a gallon jug and they don’t offer an explanation, why don’t you think of some charitable reasons they might use it for instead of ascribing to them superstition? Maybe it is someone who feeds the hungry and wants to distribute small individual bottles to many people as a goodwill gesture. Maybe it is an Eastern Catholic/Orthodox believer who drinks the holy water. Etc.


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