Q. What does the Church teach about burying statues and medals?
A. The Church doesn’t officially take a position for or against the devotion of burying statues and medals, but the Church very strongly urges its members to be careful such practices do not fall into superstition, as when doing so is for “good luck.”
It isn’t the act of burying the statue or medal that has value and benefit, but instead, asking the intercession of Mary, St. Joseph or any of the communion of saints, whom we rightly call upon for help.
St. Andre Bessette is often credited as popularizing this devotion, as he once buried a medal of St. Joseph on the site where he hoped to one day build an oratory in St. Joseph’s honor, and that prayer was soon answered.
Unfortunately, too often people bury a statute of St. Joseph thinking that automatically means your home will sell. It doesn’t. It is superstition to treat a medal, picture or other sacramental as if it were a spell or charm that has magic powers.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.”
Only if one does these things with a genuine interior spirit of prayer and trust in God’s providence, can they help you grow in faith.
This can also be a reminder that Catholics always need to be better educated in their faith, by studying Church teaching, reading Scripture along with the Catechism, using good Catholic media, and participating in classes, studies and missions organized by their parish.
Finally, remember that blessed objects should not just be ‘thrown out’ with the trash, therefore broken rosary and statues are often buried as one way to dispose of them properly and with reverence.
This question was answered by a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln. Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.