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  #1  
Old Jun 21, '11, 2:39 pm
Batfink Batfink is offline
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Default What is an Apostolic Blessing?

Way to show my ignorance here, please help.

Our Bishop Emeritus died recently and the current Bishop published a letter of condolence he had received from the papal nuncio. The letter contained this sentence:

"As a pledge of spiritual strength and comfort, the Holy Father imparts his Apostolic Blessing to all who mourn in the hope of resurrection to new life in Jesus Christ our Lord."

What does this actually mean? From the research I have done, I found out that the Blessing is indulgenced. Fine, I understand that. Although I'm not sure what one actually has to do to gain the indulgence (in addition to the usual conditions)...does 'those who mourn' imply attendance at the funeral or other public liturgy? An emotional reaction to the Bishop's death (he was a great leader for us and I have prayed for him, but I wasn't close enough to him to really be emotionally upset at his death as I would be for a family member, and I'm generally not very 'emotional' like that anyway)? Having Mass said for him? Does it even refer specifically to those who mourn this particular person since it says 'all'?

Apart from the indulgence, what is the Blessing? Is it just like a priest blessing the congregation but in absentia? Would the Pope actually speak a blessing and have news of it sent to our diocese or is it just a turn of phrase to say that he imparts the blessing and nothing is actually spoken? Would he maybe, when offering daily Mass or something, take a moment to say a blessing for x, y and z dioceses/people he has promised it to? If it is an actual out loud blessing, not just on paper, is there a set form for it?

I know all this must make me look really stupid but I don't care, it's an exercise in humility for me as well as learning! I have always wondered how the Apostolic Blessing 'worked' when we give out certificates to retiring teachers, or I see someone who got one for their wedding or something, but I'm even more confused when one is offered to a whole group of people. Any insights?
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  #2  
Old Jun 21, '11, 6:22 pm
AJV AJV is offline
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Posts: 4,112
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Default Re: What is an Apostolic Blessing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Batfink View Post
Way to show my ignorance here, please help.

Our Bishop Emeritus died recently and the current Bishop published a letter of condolence he had received from the papal nuncio. The letter contained this sentence:

"As a pledge of spiritual strength and comfort, the Holy Father imparts his Apostolic Blessing to all who mourn in the hope of resurrection to new life in Jesus Christ our Lord."

What does this actually mean? From the research I have done, I found out that the Blessing is indulgenced. Fine, I understand that. Although I'm not sure what one actually has to do to gain the indulgence (in addition to the usual conditions)...does 'those who mourn' imply attendance at the funeral or other public liturgy? An emotional reaction to the Bishop's death (he was a great leader for us and I have prayed for him, but I wasn't close enough to him to really be emotionally upset at his death as I would be for a family member, and I'm generally not very 'emotional' like that anyway)? Having Mass said for him? Does it even refer specifically to those who mourn this particular person since it says 'all'?

Apart from the indulgence, what is the Blessing? Is it just like a priest blessing the congregation but in absentia? Would the Pope actually speak a blessing and have news of it sent to our diocese or is it just a turn of phrase to say that he imparts the blessing and nothing is actually spoken? Would he maybe, when offering daily Mass or something, take a moment to say a blessing for x, y and z dioceses/people he has promised it to? If it is an actual out loud blessing, not just on paper, is there a set form for it?

I know all this must make me look really stupid but I don't care, it's an exercise in humility for me as well as learning! I have always wondered how the Apostolic Blessing 'worked' when we give out certificates to retiring teachers, or I see someone who got one for their wedding or something, but I'm even more confused when one is offered to a whole group of people. Any insights?
This blessing is not indulgenced - at least, not "explicitly". There are several forms of the "apostolic blessing".

Any blessing that the Pope gives is called an "apostolic blessing". This acknowledges the fact that as Pope, he has succeeded to the office of St. Peter and the exercise of that apostolic office.

However, when people say the "apostolic blessing" they usually mean one of two things:

(1) The Solemn "Apostolic Blessing", that is the papal blessing with the plenary indulgence that is given by the Pope "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city [Rome] and the world) on the great feasts of Christmas and Easter and on extremely solemn occasions. This blessing may also be given on a solemn feast, three times in the year by a bishop (or, in the case of a special indult, a priest, according to the terms of the indult).

Wikipedia has the text for the Urbi et Orbi blessing.

When the bishop gives the blessing there are two rites to be observed:

After the Pentiential Rite, the "May almighty God have mercy" is replaced with a special formulary (similar ot that of the Urbi et Orbi blessing)

The text of the Final Blessing is:

Quote:
Through the intercession of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, may almighty God bless
you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
(2) The Apostolic Blessing in danger of death, which may be given to the dying by a priest in the name of the Pope. The formularies (there are two in the post 1970 liturgical books) are:
Quote:
Through the holy mysteries of our redemption,
may almighty God release you
from all punishments in this life
and in the life to come.
May he open to you the gates of paradise
and welcome you to everlasting joy..
Quote:
By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me,
I grant you a full pardon
and the remission of all your sins
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, +
and of the Holy Spirit.
Both these blessings, (1) and (2), are indulgenced with a plenary indulgence.

What about the "apostolic blessing" of the letter, or during addresses of the Pope, etc.? These are simple blessings, like any priest may give: they are called apostolic for the reason that I mentioned above. You can think of them as "private" or "non solemn apostolic blessings".

The indulgence attached to these blessings is only a general indulgence that applies to the devout reception of any sacramental of the church. That is, unless it is specifically mentioned or decided that a particular blessing will be indulgenced in a special way.

The Pope does not need to pronounce the words and make the sign of the cross. He has the intention and the prayer for the people to whom the blessing is addressed. Normally this is communicated visibly through the gesture. In this case, the visible communication is in the letter.
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  #3  
Old Jun 22, '11, 6:14 am
jpjd jpjd is offline
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Default Re: What is an Apostolic Blessing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJV View Post
(2) The Apostolic Blessing in danger of death, which may be given to the dying by a priest in the name of the Pope.
I have heard this called the "apostolic pardon", which distinguishes it from an "apostolic blessing".
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  #4  
Old Jun 22, '11, 9:01 am
PiousTemplar PiousTemplar is offline
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Default Re: What is an Apostolic Blessing?

Is that even allowed? Pay 40 euro for a blessing from the Pope? Sounds like the kind of stuff that Luther got mad at...
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  #5  
Old Jun 22, '11, 9:06 pm
AJV AJV is offline
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Default Re: What is an Apostolic Blessing?

I believe the cost is for the fancy calligraphy and things, and part also goes to fund Papal charities. The printers and writers are entitled to a fee. In fact, the whole process is so slow because it is under the aegis of the Vatican precisely so that it does NOT become commercialized.You don't HAVE to get the paper. You can go to an audience and get the same blessing for free.
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  #6  
Old Mar 8, '12, 3:02 pm
coco2 coco2 is offline
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Default Re: What is an Apostolic Blessing?

Wait a minute, this article refers to an apostolic blessing from JPII if this prayer is said:

http://catholicview.wordpress.com/di...-and-abortion/

Would that mean an apostolic pardon is the same as a blessing?
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  #7  
Old Mar 9, '12, 10:02 am
Leon Bloy's Avatar
Leon Bloy Leon Bloy is offline
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Default Re: What is an Apostolic Blessing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PiousTemplar View Post
Is that even allowed? Pay 40 euro for a blessing from the Pope? Sounds like the kind of stuff that Luther got mad at...
40 Euro?

Those certificates are entirely optional and have nothing to do with whether or not one received the blessing. I really don't see the point of them, actually.

I have received the apostolic blessing many times and never had any "certificate."
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  #8  
Old Mar 9, '12, 1:35 pm
Joan M Joan M is offline
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Default Re: What is an Apostolic Blessing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leon Bloy View Post
40 Euro?

Those certificates are entirely optional and have nothing to do with whether or not one received the blessing. I really don't see the point of them, actually.

I have received the apostolic blessing many times and never had any "certificate."
Many people arrange for one of these blessings and the certificate on a particularly special day - their Wedding, or their 25th or 50th Anniversary, and then frame the certificate and hang it in their home to remind them of it.
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