Liturgically correct to use old oils?


So, this has been bugging me for awhile. At the Chrism Mass, I went to get our oils and the new DRE had not ordered any. As I frantically texted him and Father, the DRE said that we had old oils on hand that he was going to use. I asked him if we were allow to do so. He said we were. I looked up quickly a Cannon Law reference that did not sound like we were able to do so.

Later the next day I apologized for sounding rude, I just was trying to make sure I got the right thing (just the small vials of oil) before I drove home. The DRE said that liturgically they were correct with the old oils and the small vials of the new.

What is correct? Can you use the old oils with the new?


No you cannot use old with the new. Although I don’t know a reference for you it is church practice to bless new oil each year and the old oil burned in the vigil fire. Only the oil blessed at the Chrism mass for that year is to be used.
Dcn Frank


I do know that there is an old? practice of doing the same thing of mixing regular water with Holy Water font that’s running low.


I’m pretty sure that the oils at the Chrism mass are to be used for the entire year normally the Cathedral will have extra oils if a parish runs out.

Now if you used old oils I don’t think it would make it invalid, but it would make it illicit

now just a general word of advice, don’t trust the DRE word over the priests, If you have a liturgical question that should be handled by the priest. The DRE doesn’t have the same education as the priest on liturgical matters.


While the holy oils for the current year should always be used, it is not (in the strictest sense) forbidden to use the older oils either.

Sacraments performed using the old oils are both valid and licit; although this is not a sound pastoral practice. The old oils do not “expire” at the Chrism Mass when the new ones are consecrated.

To use the OP’s original words, it is not “liturgically correct” to use the old oils; but at the same time, doing so has no bearing on the efficacy (or validity or liciety) of the Sacraments.

Think of it this way:
The bishop blesses the new oils on Monday of Holy Week. Father Smith attends the Chrism Mass and brings back the new oils. On Tuesday, he gets called to the hospital for an emergency anointing. He has not yet had the opportunity to change the Oil of the Infirm that’s in his hospital oil stock, to the new OI for this year. That has no effect on the Sacrament. There’s no issue.

Using the old oils should not be done, at least not intentionally. But if it does happen, it’s not an issue.


One problem is that it’s olive oil and that can go rancid. Newly blessed oils are better if only because the oil is fresher.


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