ASK FATHER: Why Did Father Skip Blessing Children At Communion?


#1

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2018/10/ask-father-why-did-father-skip-blessing-children-at-communion/#comments

Yes, there is a good reason why a priest would “skip over” blessing children at Communion time.

It’s Communion time, not blessing time. It is a counter-sign that cancels the significance of the Communion procession of the baptized.


#2

I liked this comment by a member:

I’ve often wondered if the same people stand in line at the bank to not cash a check, or stand in line at the post office to not mail a letter.


#3

They might stand in line at the bank for another service, like to open an account or replace a lost debit card. Someone at the post office might stand in line to buy a book of stamps when the stamp-dispenser machine isn’t working. Or to mail a package instead of a letter.
In short, people could stand in one line for multiple reasons.

I’ve been a Catholic since 2000. Until reading CAF, it didn’t occur to me that a priest might make a grand statement by refusing to bless a child. It probably doesn’t occur to a lot of other Catholics, either. I’ve simply never met a priest who took issue with it.

What possible harm could come from a quick blessing for a small child? Getting this irritated about it seems petty and contrary to Catholic charity.


#4

I agree with Fr. Here. There is a blessing at the end of mass anyway.


#5

I think the source of irritation for many of us is not the idea of people wanting a blessing, the source of irritation on this thread are the suggestions and implications that the priest in question did something wrong.


#6

I do not “refuse” anyone any blessings.

Communion-time is not blessing-time. It’s that simple.

If a parent wants a blessing for a child, see me at an appropriate time and I will be happy to impart a blessing.

I also do not pass out sandwiches at Communion-time. So are you now going to accuse me of wanting everyone to starve to death?


#7

It’s not a question of “possible harm”. It’s a question of people expecting a priest to do something that he is not obligated to do and that some priests don’t WANT to do.

He’s not refusing to bless the kid, who (if his parents don’t decamp immediately after communion) will get the blessing at the end of Mass with everyone else who stuck around.

It’s wrong to force a priest into the position of doing something optional that he does not want to do, on the basis that “it takes only a few seconds” and “all the other priests are doing it” and “kids will cry and feel excluded if they don’t get their blessing” <----This last only happens because their parents have conditioned them to expect something from the priest that he is not required to do.

I don’t mind if some priests want to bless kids in the communion line, but I can see a whole lot of reasonable grounds for priests NOT wanting to do it - everything from taking the focus off the Eucharist to doing something that EMHCs cannot do and thus creating confusion among kids/ parents/ EMHCs should the kid wanting a blessing end up in their line.

It’s not a question of “what possible harm” could come from the blessing, it’s a question of Catholics not respecting the preferences of the priest and instead acting like they or their kid is entitled to an optional practice.


#8

Yes, that is exactly the source of irritation.


#9

This is, as I said in my first post, the really weird thing that has developed from this whole idea.


#10

Father, I have a related question. If I remember correctly, in the “old days” we were taught that blessings can generally be given only by priests and by parents of a child to that child. Is that correct? What about deacons?


#11

Again, I had NO IDEA this was considered optional. I’ve visited every parish in my city, and every parish in the city where I previously lived, and it’s just the default practice to bless children.

We can’t honor preferences that we don’t know about or have never even heard of. We’re parishioners, not mind-readers.

Any priest who feels this strongly about it needs to make his personal preferences clear from the get-go. I’ll still bring my small children up with me, though, rather than leave them sitting alone in a large parish.


#12

If you can show me that there has been some traditional or otherwise cultural practice of handing out club sandwiches on rye in the Communion line, I’m sure some Catholics might be surprised to learn that you had some secret, unstated preference not to hand them out.

Is this issue a TLM thing? Seriously, Father, a lot of us didn’t KNOW about this. I’m learning about it for the first time. Why are people getting so irritated, so impatient, so petty over a simple misunderstanding?

Honestly, I hope that you and other clergy would be willing to cut this woman some slack rather than get angry at her.


#13

I’m the opposite of you. I never saw this being done in any parish when I was growing up or for many years. Parents who had little kids who could not be left in the pew would bring the child up with them but the priest usually didn’t bless. He might smile at the little one.

I have only seen the priest doing the blessing rarely, and usually it has been over a babe in the arms of his parent receiving communion; the baby is too young to notice whether he’s being blessed or not. Within the last couple years it seems there are a handful of people now leading their small children up for individual blessings, but it’s still just a handful of people and not all that common, particularly when as many as 6 or 8 EMHCs are manning most of the communion lines.


#14

Priests can impart all blessings except those that are reserved (ie, specifically limited to a bishop or a priest with special permission).

Deacons can impart only those blessings specifically allowed to them, and only in the absence of a priest (although there can be some exceptions to that last part).

Laypersons don’t actually impart blessings, but instead prayers on behalf of the other person. These are “invocative” prayers, meaning that they “invoke” God. They are not “constitutive” meaning that they cause the person or object to become blessed.

In the context of a Mass (which is obviously the subject here) only a priest (sacerdos) can impart a blessing. Deacons are specifically prohibited from attempting blessings within Mass, because if a Mass is happening, there must be a priest present.


#15

Because it’s not a simple misunderstanding.

The Roman Missal tells us how to celebrate Mass. We priests are obligated to follow the Missal–to do exactly what it says, and say exactly the words printed there.

No one may add things to the Mass as a matter of personal preference, no matter how well-intentioned.

And, as I’ve already stated, yes, I do get irritated when people accuse me (and my brother priests) of actually doing something wrong when we follow the Roman Missal, as we are obliged to do.


#16

A 10 character thanks.


#17

Traditionally, the communion line was for communion- its really an innovation to have people approach for blessings or for any other cause.

I understand some people do it, but really insisting on the idea- which isn’t any kind of official practice and isn’t done everywhere, just seems a bit much.

The priests and the EMHC’s are in the zone, in a rhythm, let them do their thing. If the church family in question did the blessings regularly, they wouldn’t be as flustered.


#18

I can’t leave my little children at the back of the church whilst I walk to the front for 5+ minutes.


#19

I’ve done both when supporting someone who can’t do it themselves.


#20

Every service I’ve been to we are invited to have a blessing if we can’t take communion for whatever reason (UK).


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.