Priest asks congregation to extend hands and join in blessing...
  • I hope it's ok to post this since it's not really about music but is related to the liturgy.

    Sometimes there is a special blessing for a person or group of people, such as lectors or music ministers, etc. They are asked to stand and the priest says a special blessing for them. We have a priest who asks everyone in the congregation to extend their right hand during the blessing.

    I don't feel comfortable doing this from my spot in the choir or if I'm in the pews.

    Am I the only one who feels that way? Do I have to participate? Is this request legitimate and part of the rubrics?

  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,501
    I have no idea, but this happens all the time in my parents' home diocese, both now and during the time I grew up. My sympathies.
  • Our first parish after coming into the Church as adult converts had the practice at the end of Mass of parishioners extending their hands in blessing over families who were leaving the parish and singing a silly song of "blessing"--my first introduction to meaningless practices that detract from the Mass (sadly, I've experienced many, many more since).

    I don't believe you have to participate in this or any other practice requested that does not suit the liturgy. I do not clap hands in church despite our pastor's multiple requests to clap for visitors, birthdays, altar servers, singers, etc, etc, etc. I do not respond to questions directed at the congregation during homilies. I try really, really, really hard to focus on Jesus. With all the distractions at the typical NO Mass, it is sometimes very, very difficult.

    Part of the rubrics? No. It's a departure.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,307
    Obviously I'm salty today, but...I hate this stupid nonsense.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW regissør
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 544
    A layperson doesn’t have the faculty to bless that a cleric does. They cannot possibly join the priest in giving (for example) the nuptial blessing to a couple at a wedding. Nothing happens. It’s an abuse.

    Also, it looks like the entire church is giving the Hitlergruß. Not a good look for Christians.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    I can't bless anything or anyone, but I would be justified in using my hand to slap the **** out of the person who came up with it.

    Also salty!
  • francis
    Posts: 10,711
    I am MR salty. Want a taste??
  • No, this mockery of the worship of God and this denigration of both lay and clerical states isn't something you must add to your repertoire.

    Rather, the kind of behavior this (probably well-meaning) priest encourages chases away any proper liturgical sense, any authentic worship of God and.... since this list is about music.... makes the patrimony of the Church seem out of place.

    If a wedding is on a beach, do you wear proper clothes for the wedding or the beach?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,183
    In a similar vein, some priests reach the end of Mass and can't bring themselves to say, "May Almighty God bless you...", because that would affirm that he, the priest, is authorized and empowered to bless the people of God. Instead, some priests fudge the words and say, may God "bless us". The priest refuses to take on his fatherly role vis-a-vis the congregation.

    They are confused. They may think they're trying to avoid clericalism, but they're not succeeding. Clericalism involves the exaggeration of authority and abuse of authority, not its correct, humble, obedient exercise.

    Back to the parish situation lacrimosa raised: Father should just bless people as appropriate and stop making such a big production out of it.
  • ...empowered to bless...
    Chonak has put his hand on, I think, the root not only of embarrassment to bless with the authority to do so, but to perform the entire mass with the dignity and sobrietry which that same authority enables him to do - to do, that is, if he isn't so embarrassed at the gravity of the sacred endeavour that is the mass that he must 'lighten it up', be cute or patronisingly chatty - anything to make a pleasant experience out of what he obviously considers an onerous burden. (These same priests are not at all embarrassed to use their 'authority' to run their parishes and dioceses like little fiefdoms, and flagrantly to disobey the council's wishes about music, and to make life difficult for, if not summarily dismiss, those who would observe the council's wishes. I have often observed that, ironically, the one thing that Vatican Two didn't 'get rid of' was clericalism - the unlawful use and abuse of power parading as authority - which is the definition of 'tyrant'.)
  • I can't bless anything or anyone, but I would be justified in using my hand to slap the **** out of the person who came up with it.

    You do that while the rest of us say the Our Father holding hands across the aisles.
  • I appreciate all the comments. It's nice to know I'm not alone. At least it only happens once in a while. I was at a Cursillo retreat and we had to "bless" each speaker in that manner while singing a very childish blessing song. I think we had to do that about 15 times during the retreat. I don't recommend the Cursillo, btw. For me, there is too much manipulation and contrived inducements to have a "mountaintop experience," though to be fair, some or perhaps most have good things to say about their experience. Full disclosure before the retreat is what's needed. They keep what happens there a secret.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,225
    ...that would affirm that he, the priest, is authorized and empowered to bless the people of God...

    By the way, the "headship" of the priest is roughly parallel to the "headship" of the husband, as the alter Christus to his church/bride.

    THESE are the priests who cannot bring themselves to quote all of Paul's letter. Their confusion about who's on first is deep and has serious consequences.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,173
    confusion about who's on first
    No, he's on second.
    No, no, no! Who's on first!!
  • Experience these sorts of digressions quite frequently. It ruins flow of liturgy or worse brings it to a screeching and screaming halt.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen irishtenor
  • I never experience these distracting digressions anymore. None of the cantors land C-130's either. Hymn numbers aren't announced. No army of Extraordinary Ministers descends upon the altar (since the altar rail is closed). How do I manage it? I attend the Traditional form of the Mass, where such behavior simply is out of bounds.
    Thanked by 1HeitorCaballero
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    Yeah, those zombies holding rosary beads don't make much noise.

    I play for OF masses, and no one announces hymn number, there are no Extraordinary Ministers, and the cantors are in the loft with me during non-choir masses. If masses elsewhere are "out of bounds" it is because some idiot priest is putting up with it. Or maybe encouraging it.
  • j13rice
    Posts: 36
    CCC 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).
    Thanked by 1PolskaPiano
  • francis
    Posts: 10,711
    CCC 1669
    can you show any other source that is magesterial? The ccc sometimes contradicts earlier teaching.
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,007
    The Book of Blessings IIRC would be an important source for clarifying what is meant by "may preside at certain blessings". Generally, lay people don't preside at blessings in a liturgical or quasi-liturgical context, but offer *prayers of blessing* without priestly gestures. That said, I am aware that lay people can in certain instances be deputed to assist priests with certain blessings now (like the St Blaise blessing, for just one that springs to mind, which would be quasi-liturgical as it's usually outside but adjacent to the Mass and done as part of the public prayer of the Church).

    As for preconciliar practice, I believe abbesses and prioresses had certain powers to bless persons under their jurisdiction, but I could well be wrong about that. And Catholic parents blessed their children with the sign of the cross from time immemorial, another instance of lay jurisdiction, as it were.
    Thanked by 2Elmar PolskaPiano
  • Parents blessing their children does not equal priest blessing anyone.
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,007
    Nor did I imply that. I was offering a gloss on what might be meant by a phrase, not about relative nature of the things.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,412
    There is a spectrum, surely, which starts perhaps with Grace before meals "Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive, through Christ our Lord. Amen".
    Blessings are categorized into two types: invocative and constitutive. In an invocative blessing, the minister implores the divine favor of God to grant some spiritual or temporal good without any change of condition, such as when a parent blesses a child. This blessing is also a recognition of God’s goodness in bestowing this “blessing” upon us, such as when we offer a blessing for our food at meal time. In blessing objects or places, a view is also taken toward those who will use the objects or visit the places.
    A constitutive blessing, invoked by a bishop, priest, or deacon, signifies the permanent sanctification and dedication of a person or thing for some sacred purpose. ...
    Can. 1168 The minister of sacramentals is a cleric who has been provided with the requisite power. According to the norm of the liturgical books and to the judgment of the local ordinary lay persons who possess the appropriate qualities can also administer some sacramentals.
    My emphases. That latter covers, for example, catechists, who can on occasion sign catechumens, using their thumb on the forehead but NOT any Holy Oils.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • Liam,

    Forgive the confusion. I thought I was strenuously agreeing with your point.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,183
    Here's CCC 1669 again with the sources indicated in footnotes:

    Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a "blessing," and to bless.

    Sources: Gen 12:2; Lk 6:28; Rom 12:14; 1 Pet 3:9

    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).

    Sources: Sacrosanctum Concilium 79; 1983 CIC 1168; De Benedictionibus 16, 18

  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,412
    SC 79. The sacramentals are to undergo a revision ...
    Let provision be made that some sacramentals, at least in special circumstances and at the discretion of the ordinary, may be administered by qualified lay persons.
    Which is reflected in Canon 1168.
    Does anyone have De Benedictionibus/¿Book of Blessings? 16, 18
  • What is a "qualified lay person", and what qualify as "special circumstances"?
  • What is a "qualified lay person", and what qualify as "special circumstances"?

    In our parish, whatever the pastor determines is "pastoral need". He speaks of the "standard" but then whatever else he wants to do is justified by "pastoral need". Hence, there is no way to appeal to any Church teaching, documents or history--"pastoral need" is the supreme rule. Wasn't this the problem of Amoris Laetetia?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,183
    I don't feel like typing in all of De Benedictionibus 16 and 18, so I will summarize:

    16: Blessings are part of the Church's liturgy and hence should be celebrated communally in many cases. Important blessings should be celebrated by the bishop or priest, with an assembly of the diocese or parish, respectively. Other blessings can also be celebrated with an assembly.

    18: "The ministry of blessing involves a particular exercise of the priesthood of Christ". Celebrations involving the diocese pertain to the bishop. Priests may preside at any blessing, unless a bishop is present to preside. A deacon may preside at the blessings where this book so specifies. A formally instituted acolyte or reader may be designated by the bishop to impart certain blessings. Other laymen and laywomen, exercising their office, e.g., as parents or appointed by the bishop as catechists, may celebrate certain blessings, using the language specified for them.
    But when a priest or deacon is present, the office presiding should be left to him.


    So it comes down to what is specified for each blessing. Flipping through the book, most specify that a priest or deacon may preside. A few expressly allow laymen: e.g., the blessing of sons and daughters; the blessing of animals. There may be others so indicated.

    There are reasoned critiques to be made about the Book of Blessings, about the theology of blessing represented in it, etc., but those should be done on the basis of the text, not on the basis of ill-behaving clergy who make up their own ceremonies independent of what is in the book.
  • Yeah, those zombies holding rosary beads don't make much noise.

    I LOL'd big time at this one. So true. Now I'm imagining a zombie movie where Dom Prosper and a group of resourceful monks are holed in in their monastery surrounded by the above-mentioned. Matins & Lauds of the Living Dead or something like that.
  • Lay people, save for parents blessing their children, and husbands blessing their wives (wives can’t bless their husbands since they have no authority over them), cannot give blessings. They can ask God to bless someone or something, but it’s not the same as a priest giving a blessing.

    What the priest is suggesting is an abuse and no one is obligated, nor should anyone, do it. Furthermore, it resembles the Nazi salute when a whole sea of people do it. I abhorred this stuff growing up.
  • 1) The lay-blessing is common in some parishes I've been to. I just fold my hands like an altar-boy and smile and sing/say along. I surely want the person(s) to be blessed, but I don't have special rays that come out of my hands... wish I did. If one is in a group of traditionalists and there is a near-occasion-of-blessing (such as a birthday), one can frighten them by raising ones hands as if one is about to impart the modernist lay-blessing. Quite amusing.

    but 2) That said, one interesting twist, at least in my experience in the 'below the equator' nation (which shall remain nameless to protect the innocent and guilty) where I am living, is that godparents can bless godchildren. This means you can 'adopt' someone (ie be their godparent for Confirmation, Ordination, or just because you agree to it, etc.) and then give them blessings (as described in the next paragraph).

    Adults in general can bless children of all kinds (by custom). Older people remember going to school and lining up to receive the teacher's blessing. Some children still ask their parents' blessing every morning. I have been asked for blessings by children when in rural areas. Depending on the context this is either given by verbal response ("Be blessed!") or by placing the right hand on the recipient's head and drawing a cross on the forehead with the thumb (which is what a priest usually does if you ask him for a blessing in an informal situation, like on the street).

    Perhaps theologically incorrect, I don't know, but in this case NOT always a modern(ist) innovation?