Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


For Those Who Like Dry Baptismal Fonts

March 3rd, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

We officially have our first word of a dry Baptismal font for Lent! Fr. Rob Bourcy, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena in Mendon, publishes the following in his bulletin:

Before any other priests or priestesses out there get the idea to do the same in their respective parish, remember, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has ruled that this practice should not continue.

Check out the CDWDS response to a query on this very subject, posted over at EWTN:


Prot. N. 569/00/L Dear Father:

March 14, 2000

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”

Well, there you have it from the source. If your priest is thinking about removing holy water from the fonts, gently remind him about this CDWDS ruling. The priest will probably ignore you, and babble on about some progressive Catholic symbolism, but at least you will feel good for having made the truth known.

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4 Responses to “For Those Who Like Dry Baptismal Fonts”

  1. avatar Louis E. says:

    Confront the priest?

    Or just reverently deposit a neatly printed copy of that ruling in the empty font for the edification of whoever may see it?

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    Is the Baptismal pool the same as a holy water font?

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    Both are fonts with holy water, one is just bigger than the other.

  4. avatar thomas_lautus says:

    I thought the font should always have blessed water in it?
    Don’t know why it should be left dry during Lent.
    Whatever happen to the tradition of signing your forehead
    with blessed water as you come in to the church?

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