Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hey Hippy, put down the Holy Water and step away from the font!

Lent has begun. In various places, the liturgiNazis have removed holy water from church and chapel fonts. It has been replaced with rocks, twigs, cat litter, used motor oil. (OK, the last two are guesses, but I would be willing to bet it has been tried somewhere.) I had to suffer through it during my four years at the seminary. THE ICE QUEEN loved replacing the holy water with rocks and twigs. Many of us, smart-asses that we both were and are, just blessed ourselves with the rocks until the rector told us to stop.

However, in the year 2000, Rome issued this decree on the practice:

Prot. N. 569/00/L
March 14, 2000
Dear Father:
This Congregation for Divine Worship has received your letter sent by fax in which you ask whether it is in accord with liturgical law to remove the Holy Water from the fonts for the duration of the season of Lent.
This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:
1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being praeter legem is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance, is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.
2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of the [sic] of her sacraments and sacramentals is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The "fast" and "abstinence" which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday).
Hoping that this resolves the question and with every good wish and kind regard, I am,
Sincerely yours in Christ,

[signed]Mons. Mario Marini
Undersecretary

So all you LiturgiHippies, put back the water!
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