Use of holy water by non-Catholics

I have a question concerning the use of holy water for non-Catholics. An agnostic friend of mine who has never been baptized has recently started accompanying me to Mass on Sundays. Of course, I bless myself with holy water when I enter the church; however is it ok for my friend to do the same? I have gotten some mixed answers. I have heard all the following responses: They may not bless themselves, but I as a lay person in full communion with the Catholic Church may administer the sacramental blessing to them; No because they have not been baptized and the purpose of this would be to recall one’s baptism; Yes because the use of sacramentals such as holy water is open to everyone and not just Catholics (other examples: praying the Rosary or receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday); And I have also heard that its only ok for unbaptized catechumens in the RCIA process because they are looking forward to and preparing for baptism. I am quite confused and hoping to get some clarification. Is it acceptable for my unbaptized, agnostic friend who is not enrolled in the RCIA to bless themselves with holy water when they enter a church? Thanks in advance for your help! God bless and God love!

Hi Catholic Truth,

Here is an older post where this question was answered right here on CAF, by one of the Apologists.

Here is a link to it, that will take you there to the post:

Here is another link to an article on EWTN where a person had a question about Holy Water. It is a very descriptive article, and at the very end of it, the priest answers the question about Non-Catholics using Holy Water:

Anyone can cross or bless themselves, with or without holy water.

If a non-Christian wants to cross himself, I would take that as a good sign that he is interested in the faith. Consider getting him a book on Catholicism, or referring him to good videos, websites.

We were told in RCIA it is fine and encouraged. I would think it is a great thing and a sign of interest in the faith! :thumbsup:

I have some little books that I like to read by a Fr. Paul Osullivan, I believe, and he has one called ‘how to be happy,how to be holy’. In it and all his little books are stories of various events in the past. When he writes about the power of the sign of the cross, he tells a few stories about non Catholics using it after seeing it’s protective power.

I bet he has a piece on holy water, but the concept was the point.

If interested, great little books…(not the whole list for him)

Was I the only one thinking, “As long as your friend doesn’t start smoking where the water touches his/her skin, and then running around shrieking, it’s fine”? I was? Oh, well.


Very funny. But ah, oh well.

I found a good article on holy water from this website:

At the Latin Mass in my city, sometimes the priest at a High Mass will walk down the isles at the beginning of Mass and sprinkle holy water on everyone in the pews. It’s the part of the Mass called the “asperges.” I’ve always liked this little ritual. :slight_smile:

We have all said or heard that God works in mysterious ways. Let God’s will do its thing. All we can do is pray for these folks!!!

Also when the JWs come to the door you can sprinkle them with holy water from the font at the front door. Only thing is they may not come back for another blessing :smiley:

Thanks for the laugh, too. I really needed it!! LOL!! :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue: :rotfl:

:rotfl: My friend and I have actually joked about that! If holy water were to touch their skin they would start burning and smoking and same if they held a Bible! :smiley:

Thank you everyone for your help!

Yup, same here. I was told in RCIA that the only part of the Mass non-Catholics can’t participate in is the Eucharist.

AFAIK, Yes. It works both ways. Good for the non-Catholic as he/she does not have to be obliged to receive Communion which would entail on his/her part as an acceptance of the Catholic faith. Thus attending the mass is most nonthreatening. Good also for the Church since she teaches that it is not right to receive Communion unworthily.

It is definitely OK.

Yup, if it leaves burn marks, best to discontinue use.

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