Why such strict rules regarding blessed oil?

Why is it that, I can use Holy Water to bless my children at night and other times but I am not allowed to use Blessed/Holy Oil to bless my children? For example my son may be sick and so I take the Oil and bless him in the name of the Trinity.

I do not confuse this blessing with the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick just as I don’t confuse use of Holy Water with Baptism. Both are sacramentals that remind us of those Sacraments.

Why such strict rules with regard to Oil?


Dear P

In the “Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest” (cin.org/users/james/files/instruction_on_collaboration.htm#1)
the Church is concerned that the ministry of the ordained clergy not be obscured by the non-sacramental devotions of the laity. So it has stated that the laity may not use ANY blessed oil. This has left considerable confusion because it has been the practice of the Church for centuries for the laity to use blessed oil to anoint themselves and others as a matter of devotion—quite distinct from any of the sacraments that use oil.

We continue to wait for the clarification that the Magisterium will eventually supply.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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