[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:
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.