Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Laypeople cannot generally confer blessings

May 31st, 2011, Promulgated by Abaccio

While Fr. Tomasso sat idly, watching EMHC’s distribute Holy Communion in Geneva, I had the misfortune of attending Mass at St Michael in Penn Yan, wherein, next to Fr. Tunnicliff, a female EMHC proceeded to pretend to bless the children who were too young to receive Holy Communion.

She signed their foreheads with the sign of the cross, muttering some words of blessing.  The problem?  She cannot confer blessings on children who are not her own, and certainly cannot give a blessing in the manner of a priest during the Mass!  This is an absolutely atrocious blurring of the lines of the ministerial priesthood. Because of this action, these parents and/or children incorrectly believe they received some sort of blessing.  Sorry folks, but the same thing happened there as happens whenever Mary Ramerman speaks the words of consecration: absolutely nothing.

If you still receive from EMHC’s, please note that they cannot confer blessings on you or your children who are not receiving the Eucharist.  (In fact, I argue that even priests should not be doing this  at the time of communion.  Instead, people ought to make a Spiritual Communion, as the faithful receive a blessing at the end of Mass, “May almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost Amen.”)  If you see this happening in your parish, please bring it up to your parish priest.  This leads to nothing but confusion, just as the appointment of  lay “Pastoral Administrators” and Communion services does.  (See here for an example of the latter)




2 Responses to “Laypeople cannot generally confer blessings”

  1. Porcupine says:

    Abaccio, I think you could do a lot better with this article. If your going to say a layperson blessing another layperson is wrong, you need to do a better job clarifying WHY with resources (ammunition from the Catechism, etc.) that they can goto their priest with. If person X just walks up to their priest and says, “it’s wrong” without some sort of evidence in official church teaching, the priest is just going to ignore the person thinking they know more than person X.

    If you want change the happen, awareness is the first step (which you have done well) but education (backed by good data) needs to follow closely behind to clear up confusion.

    A priest could even confuse person X and point out from the Catechism:
    1669 Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a “blessing,” and to bless. Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons).

    Various forms of sacramentals
    1671 Among sacramentals blessings (of persons, meals, objects, and places) come first. Every blessing praises God and prays for his gifts. In Christ, Christians are blessed by God the Father “with every spiritual blessing.”[175] This is why the Church imparts blessings by invoking the name of Jesus, usually while making the holy sign of the cross of Christ.

    Can you please provide official church resources to the readers of this blog enabling them to bring change to their parishes where this is going on? Many do not know where to look. Thank you.

  2. JLo says:

    From an EWTN FAQ:
    “Canon 1169
    “1. Persons who possess the episcopal character as well as presbyters to whom it is permitted by law or by legitimate concession can validly perform consecrations and dedications.
    2. Any presbyter can impart blessings, except those which are reserved to the Roman Pontiff or to bishops.
    3. A deacon can impart only those blessings which are expressly permitted to him by law.
    A blessing is a good conferred by a higher personage on a lower personage. All true blessings ultimately come from God, though they come through those whom He has placed over others. In the family parents bless their children, as God has given them natural authority over their children. In the Church spiritual blessings are conferred in God’s Name by those to whom He has given spiritual authority over His People. As is evident by the above, blessings are given by priests (who have the power of the keys), though some are reserved to bishops (high priests). Deacons may also bless, but only where the ritual books, and thus the Church, provide the authority by law. Since the laity do not possess spiritual authority in the Church they cannot confer blessings. The laity can impose some sacramentals (ashes, St. Blaise blessing), but using objects previously blessed by the ordained.
    So, the blessing of anyone by an EME at Communion time is a vain gesture, which does nothing for the recipient. Furthermore, by a gesture which suggests priestly authority in a sacramental setting, it confuses the role of the laity and the ordained minister, something prohibited by the Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests.”

    And elsewhere is said that one who does not receive the Holy Eucharist at Holy Mass gets all the blessings possible by remaining in the pew… there is absolutely no reason to process forward for a blessing at Communion time!


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