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Isaac Pollack wrote:

Hi, guys —

I had a question on the proper disposal of items that contain unholy images.

For Christmas I got my mom a new wallet. It had the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe however the face on the image is like a day of the dead skull with what looks to be a heart. I bought it thinking the artwork was a celebration of two parts of Mexican culture.

Since Christmas, my mom has had a stroke and recently broke her hip. Prior to breaking her hip, she had showed the wallet to a relative and a friend. She is a devout Catholic and I was raised as a faithful Catholic who still practices her faith. Neither of us associate with anything related to:

  • ouija boards
  • tarot cards
  • etc.

My mom wanted me to get a new wallet which I did and this leads to my question:

  • When you inadvertently obtain a holy image that has been vandalized and bears the image of something unholy, what is the proper way of disposing it?

Thank you.


  { What is the proper way to dispose of a vandalized holy image or for that matter a holy image? }

Mike replied:

Dear Isaac,

Thanks for the question.

You said:

  • When you inadvertently obtain a holy image that has been vandalized and bears the image of something unholy, what is the proper way of disposing it?

If you have an image of a holy person in the form of a statue, picture, medal, or whatever, that you don’t want, you should first contact your local parish, then the local diocese to see if they have a process for handling the reverent disposal of religious objects.

If there is no ministry for this, you should destroy the object beyond recognition. The purpose behind this is to ensure no one else (with an anti-Christian attitude) has the ability to blaspheme the image in its present form.

I hope this helps,


Eric replied:


I believe Isaac was referring to something unholy, not something holy.

I am not sure there is a define protocol for this.

I'd suggest destroying it, for example by fire, perhaps after sprinkling it with or immersing it in holy water.


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