5.A.7 Use of Oils as Sacramentals and in Devotional Use

1. Blessed oil, when used as a sacramental according to the Book of Blessings, must be blessed by a priest or deacon using the proper order. [1] It is always to be carefully distinguished from the oil used in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, and this difference is to be explained to those present.

2. It may be used only in a public gathering under the following conditions:

    a. it is not proposed as a substitute for the celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick by a priest, and

    b. its use as a sacramental rather than as a sacrament is properly explained beforehand. [2]

3. Because the use of such oil in anointings at hospitals or nursing homes would clearly be confusing, it is not permitted to use this sacramental in those settings.

[1] Book of Blessings [USA], n. 1795e and n. 1781. Though listed among food and drink, the prayer is one for healing. More than consumption seems envisioned. 

[2] Congregation for the Clergy and other dicasteries, Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry Of Priest, Ecclesiae de Mysterio (August 15, 1997). Available at Vatican website. In part, practical norm 9 provides: “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 the administration of the Anointing of the Sick is limited to a priest, the same caution binds deacons.


Date approved by Bishop

Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor