Expert Answer Forum
Holy water & Holy oil QUESTION from Mary Ann Daly January 5, 1999 Can you extend your supply of Holy water if none is available by adding a drop of Holy water to plain water? Does this make the new water Holy water? The same question for Holy oil.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on January 9, 1999 Dear Mary:
Let us take Holy Water first. Yes, you can place drops of the Holy water in another container with regular water and thus extend your supply when needed.
On Holy Oil, it appears that layman are not to use Holy Oil at all based upon the Joint Curial Declaration on the role of the Laity:
Article 9: The Apostolate to the Sick
§ 1. In this area, the non-ordained faithful can often provide valuable collaboration. (102) Innumerable works of charity to the sick are constantly provided by the non-ordained faithful either individually or through community apostolates. These constitute an important Christian presence to sick and suffering of the greatest importance. The non-ordained faithful particularly assist the sick by being with them in difficult moments, encouraging them to receive the Sacraments of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, by helping them to have the disposition to make a good individual confession as well as to prepare them to receive the Anointing of the Sick. In using sacramentals, the non-ordained faithful should ensure that these are in no way regarded as sacraments whose administration is proper and exclusive to the Bishop and to the priest. Since they are not priests, in no instance may the non-ordained perform anointings either with the Oil of the Sick or any other oil.
The reason to preclude the laity from using Holy Oil is that Holy Oil is TOO CLOSELY related to the specific function of the sacramental functions of a priest.
There has been some question, however, as to whether this precludes the laity from using blessed oils from a shrine, for example, for their own personal use (much like Holy Water).
However, according one report of a person who personally talked with Cardinal Stafford (one of the writers of the document on the role of the laity), Cardinal Stafford has specifically said that laity are not to use Holy Oil at all.
I have a letter going to Cardinal Stafford at the Vatican to confirm this.
In the meantime, it would appear that laity are not to use Holy Oil and prudence would demand refraining from its further use until a confirmation is received.
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