How to Dispose of Blessed Objects

CK writes: “What is the proper way to dispose of blessed objects. Everyone says that burning them or burying them is the old-fashioned way and we can just throw them out now. Is this true?”

No, it is not true. Even though we live in a disposable age, this doesn’t apply to blessed objects. These must be burned or buried. This includes statues, scapulars, rosaries, medals, etc.

As Father William Saunders writes in this article, the Code of Canon Law requires that once a religious object has been blessed and dedicated for divine worship or veneration, it must be treated with reverence and must not be used in either an improper or profane way.

He goes on to describe particular instructions from the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship and the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on how to handle specific objects. For example, a chalice which, once rendered “unserviceable” must not be sold but used for some other sacred purpose, or melted. Vestments and altar linens must be destroyed and polluted or excess holy water is to be poured into the ground. Palms must be burned and the ashes used for distribution on Ash Wednesday or returned to the ground. (Almost every parish has a time of collection of old palms, usually in the weeks before Ash Wednesday. If not, check with your pastor.) Broken rosaries and statues are to be buried.

As Father instructs: “In all, the underlying idea is that what has been dedicated to God should be returned to God, in a sense, the same way a person’s dead body is committed to the earth. Never should one just ‘throw out’ what has been dedicated to God.”

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