In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Can you please settle a bet?

 Following a Confirmation as the vessels were being cleaned, I noticed some residue of Sacred Chrism in the bottom of the bowl. I dipped my thumb in and rubbed it on my hands and forehead. Someone said this was “Sacrilege”, I would like to hear your thoughts. Thank you!


A: Catechism 2120 says this: “Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.”

In my view, “sacrilege” is not what you did because you obviously retained reverence for chrism.

However, it’s not a good idea. Chrism has very specific purposes: postbaptismal anointing, confirmation, ordination of a priest, ordination of a bishop, anointing an altar, and anointing the walls of a new church. It is always administered by an ordained person. It is not for personal usage.The proper action is to absorb the oil left in the vessel with cotton and burn it someplace such as in the thurible. Washing it out in the sacrarium would also be appropriate.