Adoration Confusion

During Adoration, during the procession of the Monstrance, are we allowed to touch the Monstrance? I was at a youth rally recently and as Our Lord was processed around many teens reached up and touched the Monstrance base and the rays, i thought the could only touch the veil the priest wore while holding the Monstrance. As the title indicates I’m a little confused.

Thank you :confused:

Well the humeral veil is used during a Benediction to symbolize that it is not the priest but rather the Blessed Sacrament itself “giving” the blessing. During a procession this symbolism remains as a respect for the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I don’t think it is necessarily “illegal” to touch a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament exposed in it. After-all clergy and sometimes even lay people touch the ciborium while moving it to and from the tabernacle and while ministering communion. Ministers also touch the pyx and when you receive the Blood of Christ you touch the chalice.

However, we need to realize that Benediction and Adoration are entirely different from receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion. There is a reason why the priest wears a humeral veil. It is to show respect and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.

According to Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[137.] Exposition of the Most Holy Eucharist must always be carried out in accordance with the prescriptions of the liturgical books.235

Note that the key phrase here is “with the prescriptions of the liturgical books”. To my knowledge, there is nothing in the liturgical books that indicates that the faithful should be touching the monstrance, let alone, the luna where the Blessed Sacrament is housed.

Look at the Monstrance as though it were the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark prefigured it and the Tabernacle, so to speak. Remember the prescriptions in the Mosaic law that prohibited anyone from touching the Ark. The only time that a lay person could conceivably be touching the Monstrance is if, for a compelling reason, he would have to repose the Blessed Sacrament back into the Tabernacle. But, even then, the only ones who should even be handling the Monstrance are either the deacon, priest and bishop.

I had heard a different reason for the priest covering his hands during Benediction. It is to show that it is Christ Himself, not the priest, giving the blessing.


the humeral veil is used during a Benediction to symbolize that it is not the priest but rather the Blessed Sacrament itself “giving” the blessing.

Do you have a source for what you noted in post #2?

Benedictgal, I have heard that the purpose of the Humeril Veil is to enable the priest to carry the large Monstrance (Ostensorium) in procession. By having the veil in such a way around the elbows of the priest it gives his arms support due to the weight of the Monstrance. God Bless,nannyma

However, there are smaller Monstrances that are not as heavy, and the priest still uses the humeral veil. In fact, at the chapel in one of our local hospitals, my parochial vicar uses one when he reposes the Blessed Sacrament. He blesses the faithful with the Blessed Sacrament and then reposes the luna back into the sacristy. He even donated a humeral veil so that the other priests could use it; however, no one else does, which is a shame.

Even the Holy Father uses the humeral veil when he is blessing the faithful with the Blessed Sacrament, and the Monstrance that he uses is also small.

Like many things, it had a practical origin, but a spiritual significance was added.

why do you conclude it was added? why couldn’t the practical and the spiritual both have been the reason for it?

I doubt it’s forbidden to touch the monstrance, but I wouldn’t do it unless I had a real need to- especially not while it had the Blessed Sacrament inside. I am sorry to say that many things that happen at youth rallies should not happen.

Oh, sorry. It was from an earlier post of mine. It was just meant to refer back to it. (I have no source :frowning: )

Well I don’t understand how the humeral veil could provide support for the monstrance. It is simply cloth. Maybe I am misunderstanding someone’s post.

In the end, I find the humeral veil a beautiful symbol of Christ’s Presence in the Blessed Sacrament and when it is used in Benediction it is a wonderful way of showing how truly active Christ is in the blessing rather than simply an invocation from a priest. In a procession - even just from the tabernacle to the altar - I think the veil continues its symbolism focusing on the Real Presence.

Do I find it a crime to touch the monstrance, luna, ciborium etc? No. I think that out of reverence it is a wonderful gesture to not touch them and I probably wouldn’t unless it is necessary. Like all things liturgical I think it can be dangerous to focus so much energy on who is allowed and who isn’t allowed. A priest, through his Holy Orders, is certainly the proper person to do this but if we spend so much time focusing on the other things we may forget that Christ doesn’t care, he Loves us all just as much. Rather we strive to show Him the respect He deserves which is why we have developed these rubrics.

Actually, Jesus does care about the norms. His Father did not spend significant chunks of time and wording to dictate to Moses just how He was to be worshipped. In fact, God, Himself, dictated the first set of rubrics to Moses, governing the form of worship acceptable to Him. Furthermore, Jesus made it perfectly clear that proper worship really mattered to Him when He cleaned out the Temple.

The priest holding the Monstrance (with the Blessed Sacrament) and an EMHC distributing Holy Communion are two entirely different actions. The priest is holding the Monstrance and imparting the blessing as the faithful venerate and adore the Blessed Sacrament. The act of distributing Holy Communion is just that. It is not for adoration, rather, it is for worthily consumption of the Sacred Species.

Oh no, Benedictgal, I can’t agree with you there!

When you are a communicant, and the Minister (of whatever type) holds the Host up before you as a communicant, and says ‘The Body of Christ’, don’t you make an act of adoration as or before you say ‘Amen’?

Is there anything in the liturgical books, in your knowledge, that indicates that the faithful should NOT be touching the monstrance? How about the tabernacle? Your analogy of the Arc of the Covenant would certainly be applicable to the tabernacle, no?

Perhaps I should rephrase what I said. Christ does care. But he also cares if we take our focus away from Him to focus on who can touch the monstrance. Many of the people selling in the Temple were selling animals for sacrifice. They were turning the rubrics into something for profit rather than respecting the rubrics as a way to glorify God.

I completely understand how important rubrics are. I love to read the liturgical documents and despite the fact that I was born post Vatican II somehow seeing altar servers in albs pains me. :wink: Yet, I try to understand that ultimately it is the greater glory of God (AMDG) that we define thousands and thousands of pages of rubrics and that all of them should be headed for that reason.

Try holding a five pound object at arms length for a long period. Then put a large towel over your shoulders and around it. If you get it right the towel will be taut and transfer much of the weight to your shoulders and ease your arms.

The original use was not so much for a brief Benediction, but for long outdoor processions with very massive monstrances.

Sixty years ago altar boys occasionally carried the empty monstrance or other sacred vessels out to the altar or back to the sacristy. We were always required to put a cloth around the vessel. It was strongly forbidden to touch the metal.

However, like many rules of the good sisters, I suspect the reason was more practical than theological; they didn’t want fingerprints on their freshly polished metal work. :wink:

Just because something is not explicitly noted in the rubrics, that is not to say that we have carte blanche to do as we please. The rubrics do indicate that the deacon, priest or bishop should be doing this as far as the Benediction aspect is concerned. Furthermore, I noted that the Monstrance bearing the Blessed Sacrament should not be handled by anyone other than the ordained. Now, there are rare instances where an EMHC is allowed to remove the luna bearing the Blessed Sacrament, but, this should not happen on a regular basis. Furthermore, even when the luna is removed, the priest hold the vessel within the humeral veil and replaces the Blessed Sacrament back into the Tabernacle.

Again, with all due respect, I believe that you are confusing the act of distributing Holy Communion with that of Exposition, Adoration and Benediction. These are two entirely different matters.

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