It’s Time to Bring Holy Water Back

Eamonn Clark, STL

We read in the autobiography of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque the following: “[They] thought I was possessed or obsessed by the devil, and they threw a quantity of Holy Water over me, and with the Sign of the Cross and other prayers they strove to drive away the evil spirit. But He by Whom I was possessed, far from taking flight, drew me yet more powerfully to Himself saying: ‘I love Holy Water and I have so great an affection for the Cross that I cannot refrain from uniting Myself closely with those who bear it like Me, and for the love of Me.'”

There was never any scientific justification for removing holy water from churches. (Even the WHO admits that swimming will not transmit COVID.) Nor was there even much of a logical justification, granting for the sake of argument that it could be dangerous – the use of holy water to bless oneself is optional, after all. Those who don’t want to “take the risk” certainly are not required to. But it is beyond all reasonableness to claim at this point that COVID spreads in any significant way by means of contact – thus the general decline in neurotic hand-sanitizing and, yes, pew-sanitizing, is very appropriate. (Regarding sanitizing pews, what exactly was the thinking there? That everyone coughs downward, and everyone puts their hands where they are sitting? Or does the virus crawl up from the pew somehow? The imagination fails.)

Some churches have been filling their stoups back up, but many have not, as if this were reasonable. By now, it is a habitual lack which people have grown accustomed to… one of the most important sacramentals which the Church possesses essentially no longer exists for many people. If a pastor really thinks he needs the “right moment,” then Easter is the time. No need even to announce it, just do it. No big fuss. Many will not even notice for a while. There will be complaints from others, but it is time to start living within the truth for the sake of the common good of the faithful. Those who are still petrified need to be tolerated patiently and slowly helped to return to a right perspective of spiritual priorities and order, but they ought not be encouraged or given preference at the expense of the multitudes. Maybe just promise to replenish it more than usual and leave it at that. Surely, the Lord does not want the Church deprived of such a useful instrument any longer.

7 thoughts on “It’s Time to Bring Holy Water Back

  1. I agree 100% with this article and am a daily user of Holy Water in my home and at work. Our parish just installed electronic motion-activated Holy Water dispensers at all of the entrances. They’re similar to those motion-activated hand sanitizer dispensers. This way, us believers get what we need, and those who are still afraid will feel “safe”.


    1. A parish I am a frequent visitor at in the USA has been doing something similar – but with a real hand sanitizer dispenser! I guess it is better than nothing, but… there is something a bit off about it, feels a bit gimmicky and less “incarnational” somehow…


    1. Electronic holy water dispenses doesnt sound right – but nothing about this panedemic sounds right either, Maybe its best to have holy water dispensed this way as the alternative is to have none. I will certainly be raising this with our parish priest. I have read a lot about blessed salt – but have never heard it mentioned by our priest – should he have it available? How to ask…..


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