August 27, 2017
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Disposal of Religious Articles
It is a wonderful practice to have and use religious articles such as rosaries, scapulars, miraculous medals, bibles, statues, icons, palm branches, holy cards, etc., because they help remind us God and his love, and they help open us up to receive God’s grace into our lives.
But what do we do when a religious item gets broken, or ripped, or worn out, or faded, or you just have too many and need to purge the house a bit? Is it okay to throw religious articles away?
The answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. In short, if the item has been blessed by a priest or deacon, then it is considered a holy object and must be disposed of accordingly. A blessing sets something aside as dedicated to the worship of God, and therefore blessed objects should not be simply discarded in the trash. The proper way to dispose of blessed objects is to burn them or burry them. Even a simple bonfire in the backyard is an acceptable way to respectfully dispose of blessed items.
If an item has not been blessed, then it is not a sacred object, and can be thrown away. Thus, even if you have an image or statue of Jesus or a saint, if it is not blessed, it can simply be thrown away. This includes religious articles you may receive from charities in the mail.
The exception to that perhaps would be bibles. I would recommend always properly disposing of an old bible and not simply throwing it away, since every bible contains the word of God.
If you’re ever unsure of what to do with certain religious articles you no longer want or need, you are always welcome to bring them to church and ask me about them. I am also happy to collect old blessed items and properly dispose of them for you.
You are in my daily prayers.
God bless you,
Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke