. . . what do with blessed objects that are no longer usable.

CATECHETICAL CORNER

Our Question of the Week:

If they were only betrothed, why did Joseph contemplate divorce when he discovered Mary was with child?

Answer: You seem to be equating betrothal with the modern concept of engagement. They are not the same. Jewish custom at the time considered a couple to be married once the general agreement for the marriage had been obtained. The couple did not live together or consummate the marriage however, for about a year while the families worked out the details (dowry, etc.). If for some reason the arrangements fell through, a divorce was required since they were considered to be married even in the year before the final ceremonies and consummation. While all this may sound complex or fussy, it was really to protect the woman. Virginity was prized in Jewish culture for a bride, and without this, she was considered less marriable. Thus, she would not surrender her virginity until all the final details were made and the couple was found compatible. But God instructed Joseph to proceed differently.

Q: If a rosary is broken but repaired, does it lose its blessing?

Answer: No, it does not lose its blessing. If the majority of the beads were replaced, etc. it would not be wrong to have it blessed again, but blessed objects remain blessed. In rare cases, blessed or consecrated objects can lose their blessing through association with a gravely sinful act. For example, if a murder takes place in a consecrated church, it is the usual practice to re-consecrate the place. A related question is what do with blessed objects that are no longer usable. Generally speaking, they should be burned or buried, but not discarded in the regular trash. Old and tattered bibles, holy cards, scapulars and the like can be buried or burned. If burning them is not possible, simple burial will do. Things that cannot be burned such as ruined medals, statues or rosaries should be buried. If not blessed, it’s permissible to shred or smash items.

Pastoral Answers:  Monsignor Charles Pope (Our Sunday Visitor)

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