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#329972 08/14/09 06:15 PM
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I'm looking for information about blessings.

Specifically, who can do blessings on others, and why priests can only give certain blessings, not lay people.

I am looking for the theology of this.

Thanks


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Here's my take on it.

By virtue of baptism, all Christians are joined to Christ. In the sacrament of Holy Orders, priests and bishops receive the grace whereby they act in the name of Christ beyond the extent to which all believers share in Christ's life and ministry by virtue of baptism.

Ryan

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Christ is in our midst!!

I guess the short answer is that a priest or bishop gives blessings because the ability grows out of his ordination to the priesthood of Christ to Whom he is configured by that ordination. Lay people do not bless because we are part of the Body of Christ, that is, incorporated into the espoused portion of the Mystical Body of Christ. We are not ordained to the priestly office through which blessings flow.

But it is pious custom for parents to bless their children before bed or at other times. And we all bless others when they sneeze. That grows out of our Baptism.

But what is it you are really asking?

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The reason I asked is because I was having a discussion with our director of religious education earlier this week, and the topic came up.

it is traditional in our parish (Latin rite)that a catechumen or candidate may come forward in the communion line with his arms crossed over his chest, and the priest will give him a blessing instead.
The problem comes in that the Latin Rite Church often uses extraordinary ministers of the Holy Eucharist, and they are not supposed to give blessings this way.

The practice of going up to receive a blessing is not universal. Some parishes practice it, others do not, so it is not really normal, and as far as I know, it's not really encouraged either.

But the discussion ensued as to why a lay person who is a baptized Catholic cannot bless like a priest can bless since we are all baptized into the priesthood of Christ.

It makes sense that lay people are incorporated into the body whereas the ordained are a physical sign of Christ.

So I was just looking to understand this better, because while I have no problems with blessings being reserved to priests and Bishops alone, I really didn't have an answer that satisfied either my DRE or myself.

Thanks

Last edited by danman916; 08/14/09 06:44 PM.
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I have noticed that to when I go to Roman Litrugies that the Eucharistic minister blesses people like a priest does- making the sign of the cross on their foreheads. I think this may be a post-vactican II thing and I would love also to learn more about it.

I think that certian blessings and prayers should be reserved for the Bishops and Priests, espeically during Liturgical celebrations.

The Home is a domestic Church and the parents are the head of the home church, so I don't see that it is inaproprate for a parent to pray and say God bless you to a child or spouse but if they are readings the hours together the prayers that are reserved for priests should be omitted.

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Being honest, as I understand things, this is not permitted.

blessings by lay people [adoremus.org]

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I thought so but I wasn't sure. It did make me feel a little uncomfortable.

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One small correction: Bishops and priests are ministers of the Holy Eucharist, while lay people who help distribute Holy Communion are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

Roman Catholic canon lawyer Edward Peters has also addressed this topic on his blog: Lay ministers of holy Communion sho...sings-in-lieu-of-Communion" at Mass [canonlaw.info].

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My great-grandmother used to bless us before bed with holy water, tracing a little cross on our foreheads and then sprinkling the bed.

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Originally Posted by theophan
My great-grandmother used to bless us before bed with holy water, tracing a little cross on our foreheads and then sprinkling the bed.

Bet you slept well biggrin

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It is common in the Greek Orthodox tradition for parent's to sign the cross and bless their children, just as Theophan/Bob mentioned his great grandmother doing. It is also common to say to your children 'with my blessing' when they are leaving or embarking upon something new. A mother's blessing is powerful.

Alice

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It is also common in Catholicism - both Latin and Eastern - but these blessings are not the formal blessings that are being given at what is supposed to be a time for Communion.

It is not right that a lay person , who is holding the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Saviour in their hands at that time , and who , at that time is only permitted to help with the Distribution of Communion because the large numbers present [ ?? ] which would unduly prolong the length of the Mass , should be askeed to perform a blessing which should be given at another time.

Blessings in the domestic situation are different , and believe me I blessed Raymond every time I visited him during the last 2 weeks of his life .

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Originally Posted by Our Lady's slave
It is also common in Catholicism - both Latin and Eastern - but these blessings are not the formal blessings that are being given at what is supposed to be a time for Communion.

It is not right that a lay person , who is holding the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Saviour in their hands at that time , and who , at that time is only permitted to help with the Distribution of Communion because the large numbers present [ ?? ] which would unduly prolong the length of the Mass , should be askeed to perform a blessing which should be given at another time.

Blessings in the domestic situation are different , and believe me I blessed Raymond every time I visited him during the last 2 weeks of his life .

Dear Anhelyna,

I wasn't actually commenting on an ecclesiastical situation but to Bob and Pani Rose's post...

Quote
It is not right that a lay person , who is holding the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Saviour in their hands at that time , and who , at that time is only permitted to help with the Distribution of Communion because the large numbers present [ ?? ] which would unduly prolong the length of the Mass , should be askeed to perform a blessing which should be given at another time.

Oh, I absolutely agree...so much, it seems, is sadly inappropriate at modern RC masses these days from all that I am reading.

Wishing you many years on this blessed Feast day of Our Lady.

In Christ,
Alice


Alice #330031 08/15/09 01:25 PM
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Slava Isusu Khrestu

One scary thought.

I recently attended in June the year end mass at a Catholic school. Those youngsters who were not Catholic and those who were in Junior or Senior kindergarten all came up for a blessing at communion. The lay ministers one of which was the principal gave blessings by
1. placing her hand on the head of the youngster and saying a blessing.
2. traced the sign of the cross on the forehead of the child.and said some blessing.

What bothers me is the fact that she and the other lay ministers continued to dip their hands into the ciborium and distribute communion with out consindering what might be on those hands from the heads of some of the youngsters.( they have had many problems with head lice etc. )

From a purely sanitary point of view, I feel it is not a good habit! frown

Z Bohom

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Very true - and it's NOT supposed to happen anyway. But it's surprising just how many people think they know better than the Church.

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