My question is kind of similar to this one, but more specific. There's a lot of conflicting information on the internet regarding diluting the holy water. Some people suggest that the water must be comprised of more than 50% originally blessed water to be considered "holy".

None of the sources seemed to suggest that it is "50% holy" then, though; to the contrary, "holiness" of the water is supposed to be a boolean property. This would imply that holy water obtained by 50-50 dilution and contact with originally blessed holy water is different to the originally blessed holy water. Specifically, that all the properties of the original water are kept, except the ability to be diluted with non-blessed water.

This is my understanding basing on some public findings though; I was struggling to find any real canonical source that would definitely answer all of my questions.

1 Answer 1


How much can holy water be diluted?

The short answer is 49%.

The rubrics for Baptismal Water are the same as those pertaining to Holy Water in this circumstance.


  1. If the baptismal water has so diminished that it is foreseen it will not suffice, unblessed water may be added even repeatedly, but in lesser quantity than the blessed each time this is done. If it becomes contaminated or has leaked out or in any way is deficient, the pastor will see to it that the font is thoroughly cleansed and replenished with fresh water, and proceed to bless it according to the form given below. - Holy Baptism - General Rules

Although these rules are from the 1962 rubrics, they still show that ordinary water may be mixed with holy water and retain its blessing. In other words, it is important to realize that to maintain its sacramental blessing in force, the water added to the original volume is not to exceed 49%. The water added to the holy water must be less than the original volume. Any more than that the holy water looses its sacramental qualities and is to be considered ordinary water.

When adding water a second time to the previous amount of holy water, the water added to that must also be 49% or less of that volume. It should be noted that this is rarely done and that safeguards are generally in place to make sure this does not happen. This should be avoided if at all possible.

This is exact what I was taught in the seminary.

If one desires a large amount of holy water, it would be okay to ask a priest to bless some water in a separate container for personal use at home or elsewhere. I have done this with oil on several occasions.

The 49 %/51% phrase is quite in line with the Church's traditional way of dealing with less than half: 51% Beeswax for example.

It is safe to conclude that the Pascal Candle and the candles used at Mass must have at least two thirds wax in their composition, 67% would be the minimum. About the other candles, the Sacred Congregation of Rites prescribes that a greater (51 %) or notable part of the candles must be [bees]wax. - The Wax Candle in the Liturgy

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    I think the word "repeatably" is key here. If you can repeatably add ordinary water to holy water, you can just do that multiple times to obtain the desired quantity. What I'm not sure abou is whether each time you can do that with twice the amount done previously, or always less than the amount of original water. Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 13:36
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    You seem to be using the term "49%" to mean "less than half". Mathematically these are not the same thing. According to the rules you quoted, a 49½:50½ mix would also be permissible. As would, say, a 49.999:50.001 mix, as well as countless other proportions. You're not going to be able to express an upper limit using a single number.
    – Psychonaut
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 16:13
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    @Psychonaut The 49 %/51% phrase is quite in line with the Church's tradtional way of dealing with less than half: 51% Beeswax for example.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 16:19
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    OK, so - Father John runs short on holy water, adds 49%, then uses a bunch. The next day Father Paul comes along and notes that he's short on holy water, adds 49%, and uses a bunch. Third day, it's Father George who adds 49% Yet Again and uses a bunch. Finally, on the Last Day (I promise), Father Ringo finds he's short of holy water, adds 49% to the font, and blesses his little heart out. NOW - what's in the font? Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 19:23
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    @Psychonaut – "You're not going to be able to express an upper limit using a single number." I can. 50% exclusive. [0, 50) Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 19:28

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