Skip to main content


Mixing Blessed and Unblessed Oils

1/31/2007 - 6:05 AM PST

Advertisment


ROME, JAN. 31, 2007 (Zenit) - Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: If a priest is running out of the holy oil for anointing the sick blessed by the bishop at the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, may he mix other unblessed oil with the remaining oil? -- C.B., Detroit, Michigan

A: The proper matter for this sacrament is olive oil or, if olive oil is unavailable, some other oil made from plants.

The general norm is that the holy oils to be used should those blessed by the bishop. This oil is blessed for the whole year at the Chrism Mass.

The Roman ritual of anointing (no. 22) encourages the minister of anointing to "make sure that the oil remains fit for use and should replenish it from time to time, either yearly when the bishop blesses the oil on Holy Thursday or more frequently if necessary."

Canon 847 of the Code of Canon Law further enjoins priests to obtain recently consecrated or blessed oils from his own bishop and not to use old oils except in case of necessity.

If a parish is running short, then the priest could inquire at the cathedral, as many dioceses keep a reserve supply during the year. One may also ask at another parish, especially one that has no hospitals, if it can spare some oil.

When a priest has no blessed oil and a grave need occurs, Canon 999 provides him with a solution so that nobody might be deprived of the grace of this sacrament. It states that any priest may bless the oil in a case of necessity but only in the actual celebration of the sacrament.

Although the canon restricts the priest's blessing of the oil to cases of necessity it does not determine the degree of the necessity and the priest may judge it in each case.

If this is done, the ritual explains that any oil blessed by the priest and left over after the celebration of the sacrament, should be absorbed in cotton or cotton wool and burned.

Because of the priest's faculty of blessing the holy oils in case of need, the questions about using or mixing in unblessed oils should no longer be an issue.

Previously, the general opinion was that the use of unblessed oil or oil blessed by an unauthorized priest was of doubtful validity. The Holy See had responded negatively to propositions favoring these opinions, but it did so in terms that did not entirely settle the question from the dogmatic point of view.

The debate remained open among theologians regarding the possibility of using a different holy oil blessed by the bishop (either the chrism or the oil of catechumens) for the sacrament of the sick. Also unsettled was the question of whether mixing blessed and unblessed oil invalidated the sacramental matter.

Many theologians approved of the first opinion: that different holy oils could be used. Fewer theologians, however, proposed the possibility of mixing blessed and unblessed oils.

The questions were never definitively resolved and, as we mentioned, have been superseded by the new discipline allowing the priest to bless the oils.

No matter what the theological opinions might have been, all were in agreement that priests administrating this sacrament should follow exactly the Church's liturgical norms and not risk any danger of invalidity. This advice remains valid today.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org  CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Oil, Blessed, Unblessed, McNamara, Liturgy, Holy, Sick

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment


Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 55:6-9
Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call to him ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Day after day I shall bless you, I shall praise your name for ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner going out at ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 1:20-24, 27
all in accordance with my most confident hope and trust that I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

September 21 Saint of the Day

St. Matthew
September 21: St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the ... Read More