According to the
Baltimore Catechism... (emphasis added)
Q. What is
A. Holy chrism is a mixture of olive-oil and balm,
consecrated by the bishop.
Q. What do the
oil and balm in Holy Chrism signify?
A. In Holy Chrism, the oil signifies strength, and the balm
signifies the freedom from corruption and the sweetness which virtue must give
to our lives.
Q. How many
holy oils are used in the Church?
Three holy oils
are used in the Church, namely, the oil of the sick, the oil of the catechumens,
and holy chrism.
constitutes the difference between these oils?
A. The form of prayer or blessing alone constitutes the
difference between these oils; for they are all olive oil, but in the Holy
Chrism, balm is mixed with the oil.
Q. When and by
whom are the holy oils blessed?
A. The holy oils are blessed at the Mass on
by the bishop, who alone has the right to bless them. After the blessing they
are distributed to the priest of the diocese, who must then burn what remains of
the old oils and use the newly blessed oils for the coming year.
Q. For what
are the holy oils used?
A. The holy oils
are used as follows: The oil of the sick is used for
Extreme Unction [Anointing
of the Sick] and for some blessings; the oil of catechumens is used for
Holy Orders. Holy Chrism is used at
Confirmation and for the blessing of some sacred things, such as altars,
chalices, church bells, etc., which are usually blessed by a bishop.
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