Can anyone other than a priest give a blessing?


I know that only a true blessing can be given by an ordained Catholic priest, to both people and religious articles.

But I have heard in a few instances of the possibility of other people giving sort of “blessings.” When I was a child my mother, a good Catholic, used to give me a blessing before going to bed. She called it a motherly blessing. She simply made a cross on my forehead and sent me to bed.

Secondly, I was wondering about the blessing an ordained Catholic deacon can give. I know that they definitely can give real blessings and blessings to religious articles and water, etc., as my father is a deacon. But would this blessing be less than a blessing of an ordained priest, and if a deaon blesses a religious article, would the article then become a sacramental?


Ordinarily speaking, the basic rule of thumb is that those who have spiritual authority over another person can give that person a blessing. That is why parents can give a blessing to their children. In the case of deacons, canon law says the following:

A deacon can impart only those blessings which are expressly permitted to him by law (canon 1169 §3).

This differs from priests in that while a deacon can only give those blessings expressly permitted to him, the rule for priests is that they can impart any blessings, except those reserved to the pope or to bishops (canon 1169 §2). In other words, the law appears to be more restrictive about the ability of deacons to impart blessings than it is about the ability of priests to do so.

If a deacon is giving a blessing permitted to him to give, it would seem that the article or person he is blessing has been truly blessed and that the article would become a blessed sacramental.

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