Can lay persons bless?

I believe I heard on Relevant Radio (go Relevant Radio!) that baptised (and confirmed?) lay persons can bless things like water, or I think the example they gave was the layperson’s children. I realize they, of course, cannot transubstantiate the bread and wine into the holy Eucharist. Is this right? If so, what spiritual benefit would one’s children, for example, be granted?

As long as I am at it, I also heard that any baptized christian (again, confiremed?) can perform an exorcism, but do not have the same power/safegaurds as a priest.

Thanks, this came up in a conversation with a friend and I couldnt answer definitively.

No, the only people authorized to perform blessings is those who receive Holy Orders. Bishop’s, Priests, or Deacons.

[quote=Michael038]No, the only people authorized to perform blessings is those who receive Holy Orders. Bishop’s, Priests, or Deacons.
[/quote]

Not so fast. I think the word “bless” has some nuances to it. When you make the sign of the cross, you are blessing yourself. When you make the sign of the cross on your child’s forehead, you are giving the child a blessing.

I don’t know how to explain it, but perhaps someone can clarify the difference between a blessing that comes from an ordained minister, and one that comes from a layperson. Maybe the difference is that as a layperson you are asking for God’s blessing on someone, and as an ordained minister (Priest or Deacon) you are “giving” God’s blessing. Not sure.

[quote=Michael038]No, the only people authorized to perform blessings is those who receive Holy Orders. Bishop’s, Priests, or Deacons.
[/quote]

The Book of Blessings authorizes lay members of the Christian faithful to bless under certain conditions. The introduction to the Rites says they may do this in virtue of the universal priesthood, their own baptism and confirmation. Parents exercise this ministry toward their children, and others such a those with a special liturgical or catechetical ministry. The individual rites of blessing indicate the conditions in which this can be done and special formulas are used which do not include making the sign of the cross, as a cleric would do. There are wonderful blessings for sons and daughters, engaged couples, on the occasion of a birthday that parents may administer. There are blessings of the sick and of children, of students and teachers as well which the lay may give.

The blessing of objects though such as holy water generally pertains only to clerics.

Only a priest authorized by the diocesan bishop or certain kinds of religious superiors may perform exorcisms apart from the type of exorcisms associated with the Rites of Christian initiation. Those kinds are more in the genre of prayers for protection against evil rather than the expulsion of evil ones.

A shorter version of the Book of Blessings is available, I think, from Catholic Book Publishing for around $20.

Thanks, I stand corrected.

[quote=Michael038]Thanks, I stand corrected.
[/quote]

Hey, sit down and relax. I should have referenced no. 1669 of the Catechism for the convenience of anyone who might be interested.

It is available at usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt4.htm#art1.

It discusses not only who can bless (generally) but what blessings are, the different kinds and effects, and touches on exorcism.

Anyone can, theoretically, bless. Blessing is a legal action in the Church, constituting something canonically as for sacred use. It’s not a superstitious thing. Canon law usually only gives these powers to priests and bishops, but deacons are being allowed to more and more.

In terms of invoking God’s protection on something, anyone can pray for that individually, but blessing canonically changes the object’s canonical state in the eyes of the Church from profane to sacred, and her entire collective intercessory power is delegated to it.

From canon law:

Can. 1166 Sacramentals are sacred signs which in a sense imitate the sacraments. They signify certain effects, especially spiritual ones, and they achieve these effects through the intercession of the Church.

ß2 Any priest can impart blessings, except for those reserved to the Roman Pontiff or to Bishops.

ß3 A deacon can impart only those blessings which are expressly permitted to him by law.

Can. 1170 While blessings are to be imparted primarily to Catholics, they may be given also to catechumens and, unless there is a prohibition by the Church, even to non-Catholics.

Can. 1171 Sacred objects, set aside for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated with reverence. They are not to be made over to secular or inappropriate use, even though they may belong to private persons.

Ty!

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

As has been said, the value of a blessing given by a private person in his own name will be commensurate with his acceptableness before God by reason of his individual merits and sanctity. A blessing, on the other hand, imparted with the sanction of the Church has all the weight of authority that reaches to the voice of her who is the well-beloved spouse of Christ, pleading on behalf of her children. The whole efficacy, therefore, of these benedictions, in so far as they are liturgical and ecclesiastical, is derived from the prayers and invocations of the Church made in her name by her ministers.

Blessings may be divided into two classes, viz: invocative and constitutive. The former are those in which the Divine benignity is invoked on persons or things, to bring down upon them some temporal or spiritual good without changing their former condition. Of this kind are the blessings given to children, and to articles of food, The latter class are so called because they permanently depute persons or things to Divine service by imparting to them some sacred character, by which they assume a new and distinct spiritual relationship. Such are the blessings given churches and chalices by their consecration. In this case a certain abiding quality of sacredness is conferred in virtue of which the persons or things blessed become inviolably sacred so that they cannot be divested of their religious character or be turned to profane uses. Again, theologians distinguish blessings of an intermediate sort, by which things are rendered special instruments of salvation without at the same time becoming irrevocably sacred, such as blessed salt, candles, etc. Blessings are not sacraments; they are not of Divine institution; they do not confer sanctifying grace; and they do not produce their effects in virtue of the rite itself, or ex opere operanto. They are sacramentals and, as such, they produce the following specific effects:
[list=1]
*]Excitation of pious emotions and affections of the heart and, by means of these, remission of venial sin and of the temporal punishment due to it.
*]Freedom from power of evil spirits;
*]Preservation and restoration of bodily health.
*]Various other benefits, temporal or spiritual.
[/list]All these effects are not necessarily inherent in any one blessing; some are caused by one formula, and others by another, according to the intentions of the Church. Neither are these effects to be regarded as infallibly produced, except in so far as impetration of the Church has this attribute. The religious veneration, therefore, in which the faithful regard blessings has no faint of superstition, since it depends altogether on the Church’s suffrages offered to God that the persons using the things she blesses may derive from them certain supernatural advantages. Instances are alleged in the lives of the saints where miracles have been wrought by the blessings of holy men and women. There is no reason to limit the miraculous interference of God to the early ages of the Church’s history, and the Church never accepts these wonderful occurrences unless the evidence in support of their authenticity is absolutely unimpeachable.

blesses you all
:smiley:

[quote=batteddy]Anyone can, theoretically, bless. Blessing is a legal action in the Church, constituting something canonically as for sacred use. It’s not a superstitious thing. Canon law usually only gives these powers to priests and bishops, but deacons are being allowed to more and more.

In terms of invoking God’s protection on something, anyone can pray for that individually, but blessing canonically changes the object’s canonical state in the eyes of the Church from profane to sacred, and her entire collective intercessory power is delegated to it.
From canon law:
[/quote]

Consecrations, dedications, constitutive blessings, invocative blessings . . . holy things for a holy people.

Though I understand this point and agree, by virtue of canon 2, all blessings in the liturgical books are “canonical” blessings.

Perhaps it helps to keep in mind that the term “blessing” itself is not univocal. It is used in different ways in different sources, and has nuanced differences in canon law and liturgical law (in all the Roman Rites, but especially in the Book of Blessings.) Any particular use of the term has to be examined individually to make the distinction, and we have to be careful not to paint all blessings with the same brush and tint. There are several other canons and liturgical texts (in light of canon 2) that would need to be consulted to give a broader picture.

True enough, a blessing is an action that is regulated by canon and liturgical law. But the Church usually distinguishes juridic action, something with a legal effect, from liturgical action, which has a sanctifying effect. Sometimes liturgical actions also have legal effect and are true juridic actions when the law so provides. Baptism is a prime example. Not only does it involve all the spiritual elements (regeneration, purification, incorporation into Christ, etc.), but it also makes a natural person a member of the Church with certain rights and duties as the law provides.

Sometimes a blessing is merely invocative but sometimes it is constitutive. For example, the Church chooses to speak of an “Order for Blessing of Children”, even though it neither consecrates the child nor confers a change in the child’s legal status. By contrast, the “Order of Blessing of an Abbot” in the Roman Ritual effects a change in canonical status, making a monk the superior in a local community. So while the blessing of an abbot is constitutive, the
the blessing of the child is invocative. Similarly, the blessing of a car or other means of transportation as provided in de Benedictionalibus would not render it consecrated, holy, or set aside for sacred purpose.

So we have to look at each case in context when the term “blessing” appears.

Such are the blessings given churches and chalices by their consecration. In this case a certain abiding quality of sacredness is conferred in virtue of which the persons or things blessed become inviolably sacred so that they cannot be divested of their religious character or be turned to profane uses.

True enough in principle. While the online Catholic Encyclopedia is pretty neat, it is close to a 100 years old, and does not reflect either Vatican II or the 1983 code of Canon law. Sacred places may be either dedicated or blessed (canon 1205: dedicatione vel benedictione) such as churches (canon 1208). It is the Code of Canons of the Eastern Catholic Churches that speaks of the consecration of a church (CCEO c. 969). Somewhat in variance with the Rite of Ordination, the 1983 code speaks of the consecration of a bishop (canon 1102 and vicinity). In the Latin Church, virgins and sacred chrism are consecrated. Of course, the law does provide for sacred places and things, under certain conditions, to loss their blessing.

God bless.

Can a lay person bless a sacramental, like a rosary?

Can a lay person bless a sacramental, like a rosary?

The order for the Blessing of Religious Articles (Book of Blessings, no. 863) indicates that the order may be used by a priest or deacon.

These articles include medals, small crucifixes, statues or pictures that will be displayed outside a church or chapel, scapulars, rosaries, and other articles used for religious devotions.

Dear All,

I am a lay minister currently working in Saudi Arabia.

I would appreciate if anybody could provide me with the full text of the “Order for the Blessing of Various Means of Transportation” (Book of Blessings).

I tried buying the book before through Amazon but the book was confiscated at the customs, as it is illegal to practice Christianity in this part of the world.

Many thanks for your assistance in this matter.

Kind regards and God bless.

Ronnie

Also Cardinal Ratzinger in his book on the Spirit of Liturgy, talks about Christians blessing …such as his parents blessing them with the sign of the cross when the were young (I would think on the forehead) and that he thinks such blessings should come back in popularity!

So from what we know:

  1. There are some ‘official’ Blessings that are allowed for a lay person in the book of blessings. (in this case the lay person ‘asks the Blessing of God’ in an official way.)

  2. A number of official blessings are restricted to the Bishop,Priest, or Deacon (such as water, medals,etc) (In the is case the priest etc ‘gives the blessing’)

  3. But a lay person, by virtue of thier Baptism etc and their Faith can ‘bless’ and ought to use blessings in life. The sign of the cross is a great gift to all Christians.

Kevin O.SS.T.,Ter.

We pray a Blessing over the Priest at every Mass. In some parishes, we lift out hand toward the Priest as we say, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice from your hands for the Praise and Glory of His name, for our good and the good of all the Church…Amen”.

I love that blessing and see many who do not even say it.

I bless people when they sneeze :ehh:

Could I then proceed to bless my home by myself? My dad absolutely resents Catholicism, so…Heh. If so, how might I go about it? Holy water, incense, a prayer?

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