blessing instead of communion

i’m a bit confused about this.

from my understanding, there was a document from the church discouraging it.

my priest still does it though and my mom goes up to get a blessing because she is not catholic.

i personally don’t see anything wrong with it but i’m not church authority so my opinion really doesn’t matter.

i would like to tell my mom not to do it but ereh’s one problem, she has a serious issue when it comes to rejection. if i bring it up, she will be completely scandalized and lose faith in the church completely. (it’s hard enough for me to try and convince her to get an annulment. sigh…)

i don’t really know what to do

my dad also won’t listen to me when i told him he shouldn’t be receiving communion because of my mom’s situation.

they won’t take me seriously.

and the reason my mom won’t do it is because she doens’t want people to find about her past, apparently when she tried to do rcia the first time, the instructor was condescending and made fun of her for it. now she’s too scared to go talk to any priest. i wish people would realize what their actions do to affect others.

i guess there’s nothing i can do really if the priest still allows it.

anyways, sorry for the rant. all i can do is pray now.

Forget about the blessing in the communion line. It is a minor thing either way and you were not put here to nag your parents or your priest.

The fact that their marriage is not blessed by the Church is a serious matter but, again, you should not try to correct them yourself. Could you perhaps befriend a priest and find a way for him to have a casual private conversation with one or both of them?

Don’t worry, pray for them daily instead. The best thing you can do for others is to set a good example.

In all the Masses I have been to for many years, the Priest gives a blessing to spouses, visitors and especially the children too young for Communion. This is allowed, and many Parishes encourage it. It is a great means of opening their hearts to the Catholic faith, and no blessing ever is wasted. Encourage her to keep going & receiving the blessing from the Priest. It might eventually lead her to a hunger for receiving Communion, which will lead her to become Catholic and get that annulment! God bless her for going!:signofcross:

I could be wrong, inasmuch as I am no expert in this topic, but I’d understood that it’s okay for deacons and priests to administer these blessings, but that lay extraordinary ministers of holy communion are not supposed to be doing this, although I see it all the time.

Frankly, I am not sure why it would be discouraged–seems like it could be another of those detailed rules and regs that doesn’t seemingly have a rational reason for being in place.

Yes, an Extraordinary Minister can give a blessing at Communion, but we are specifically told to use the SIDE of the thumb (so that no particle of the Holy Eucharist may touch the forehead), make the sign of the cross on the forehead of those not receiving Communion but coming for a blessing. We are NOT to make the sign of the cross with our whole hand (as a Priest does at Mass) nor to make it while holding a Host in our hand. Those types of blessings are reserved for the Priest alone. Anyone can give a blessing with their thumb on the forehead of their child, spouse or others in the family. Superiors in Convents have been doing so for centuries when Sisters are leaving to drive to the store (or travel by foot or donkey, for that matter!) Many families do so when their children leave for school. My husband gave me such a blessing each day when I left for the evening/night shifts with a long drive and then working as a Nurse. It was a great comfort to me. I’m sure it’s a comfort to anyone! Our Priest instructed us very carefully about how to do this, and what is and is not permitted.

I hve heard that it is discouraged, but have seen no direct prohibition. There was an elderly couple in our parish in their second marriage their first spouses had died. She was Catholic and came up for Communion each Sunday; he was non-Catholic,but always accompanied her and asked for a blessing. After a year or so he came to RCIA and received the sacraments of initiation. I like to think the blessings encouraged him.

In giving anyone a blessing I held my hand above their head without touching and say “May the Lord bless you this week…” It is the same procedure I used for non-Catholics when I brought Communion to anyone at home.

Since my Priest was very specific about how we could and couldn’t give a blessing, I don’t think I could hold my hand over their head to give a blessing. He also specifically told me not to say any words. He gives the blessings by holding his hand over their heads or by blessing them with the Host. Perhaps the way you did it is permitted, but without my Priest’s permission, I must follow his instructions in obedience. Perhaps our next Priest will change this in the future. I’ve noticed a young woman who comes with her daughter, (who looks to be old enough for Communion). The young woman receives Communion, but holds her daughter’s hands across her chest to only receive a blessing. Don’t know the reason, perhaps she hasn’t completed the religious teaching for First Communion yet, who knows? But she usually comes to me when I am serving as Host Minister with the Priest. I continue to give her daughter the blessing as my Priest instructed.

Now, if you believe your bringing up the blessing issue would cause her to have hard feelings about the Church, best to let that issue rest. Pick your battles. That’s not really a big issue, not sinful. Why not save fraternal correction for one that is, given her sensitivity?


Non-Catholics and Catholics in a state of mortal sin or otherwise not properly disposed to receive may not receive Communion and should not be going up for a blessing. It is called the Communion Line and not the Communion and Blessing Line.
Blessing are not permitted. Everyone receives a blessing just before the Mass ends so there is no need to go up anyway.

February 2009

Vol. XIV, No. 10

Congregation for Divine Worship -

On Giving Blessings During the Communion Rite

What about giving blessings to people who come forward in the Communion line but who are not receiving Communion? Should a priest, deacon or an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion give the person a blessing instead?

What if a person who is not receiving Communion presents himself with arms crossed over the chest, during the regular administration of Communion?

Two men wrote to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) asking about this practice. Their query asked if there are “particular guidelines or restrictions” concerning the practice of a minister or extraordinary minister giving the person a blessing.

The response from the CDW was in the form of a letter (Protocol No. 930/08/L), dated November 22, 2008, signed by Father Anthony Ward, SM, Under-secretary of the Congregation.

The letter said that “this matter is presently under the attentive study of the Congregation”, so “for the present, this dicastery wishes to limit itself to the following observations”:

  1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.

  2. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; Canon 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).

  3. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands — which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here — by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.

  4. The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio n. 84, “forbids any pastor, for whatever reason to pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry”. To be feared is that any form of blessing in substitution for communion would give the impression that the divorced and remarried have been returned, in some sense, to the status of Catholics in good standing.

  5. In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church’s discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing. This would include non-Catholics and those envisaged in can. 915 (i.e., those under the penalty of excommunication or interdict, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin).

The Congregation’s clarification that extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (always laity), cannot give sacramental blessings within Mass is very helpful; and could be especially useful to pastors in parishes where inappropriate blessings during Communion have become common.

How is this information going to help the OP? Sometimes we just need to listen.


It may be helpful to others though, as threads take on lives of their own, and sometimes address more than just the original poster’s concerns.

For example, earlier in this thread, judynurse suggested these blessings were okay, but it appears her comment may not be accurate or least complete, so it was helpful in that it provided more context on the issue.

The question was asked by JReducation over on the traditional Catholicism thread , “Are we too self-absorbed?” I’m wondering if this topic could fall under one of those obsessions that our Holy Father was talking about. What is more important, being right or saving souls? What good is it to be right if no good comes of it? Even Pope Benedict blessed children in the Communion line.


Reminds me of the cartoon

I agree with you and with Brother Jay, we should not make a stink about such things. I was just saying that it’s nice to have that information that thistle posted. Many people have asked me about these blessings, and I’m no authority on them, so it’s nice to have more knowledge about them. :slight_smile:

The OP asked about the document. I provided it. What is your problem with that?

On another thread, I specifically advised NOT to go up for a blessing. However the OP in that thread is a Catholic who was just not prepared to receive that day. In this instance the person is not the poster and a non-catholic who does this regularly. I agree that the poster should not tell her mother to stop doing this.

Save your efforts for encouraging mom to attend rcia. Pray for her.

This issue is raised frequently on this forum. There is also a sticky which makes clear that the oft-quoted CDW message from 2009 was a personal opinion that carries no authority. Bottom line is that Bishops decide in their ecclesial areas whether blessings at Communion are permitted or encouraged. Incidently they are permitted in Vatican City!

No, the OP did not ask about the document. The post was more of a rant, as stated, and the person didn’t know what to do. This problem concerns the parents and how they may react to hearing about the document that the OP had heard about, especially when the pastor allows it.

The OP mentioned the document. I provided it. The OP can read it for clarification on this topic. Why is this such a problem for you.

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