Denied the Communion blessing


In another thread I kind of, sort of, maybe, in a way was somewhat critical of the reception my wife and daughter received at a particular parish’s EF Mass. Both threads were closed, and I respect that decision. However, I can’t let that train of thought die without mentioning this:

Just to be fair and balanced, I head a similar story this morning, but it involved an OF Mass. A Lutheran coworker attended a Catholic baptism (a few years ago). At some point the priest announced that she was not Catholic (mentioning her by name) and discouraged her from walking up during the distribution of the Holy Eucharist.

I said, “Well, you’re not allowed to receive Communion but you’re allowed to go up–”

“To receive the blessing,” she interrupted. “I know. But I didn’t go up because he made me feel so apart.”

I said, “That’s just wrong. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.”


There is no such thing as a “communion blessing.”


Just to make sure we’re on the same page: Deacon Lapey is correct – there’s nothing in the ritual for the Liturgy that discusses giving blessings at the time that the Eucharist is distributed. Some priests will decide to do that, but this doesn’t mean that it’s either part of the Mass rite or even that it’s a right owed to a person. So, in this case, it seems that this priest wasn’t in the practice of giving blessings to people at communion time. That’s his right.

Was it the most pastoral and prudent way to handle the situation? That’s a question that might be open to discussion. However, it’s not a matter of “how it’s supposed to work;” strictly speaking, ‘how it’s supposed to work’ is that people who want to receive communion get up and get in line to receive, and people who are not receiving communion generally stay in their seats.

So, if your complaint is that the priest did something wrong, then that’s not quite accurate; if your complaint is that the priest could have handled it differently, that’s something else altogether… :wink:


The “Communion Blessing” is not approved by the Church.

Standing & going up to Communion is a testimony that you believe in the teachings of the Church, and that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, and that you are living the Catholic life. You are in communion. It is a public testimony. It is your reception of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for you! It is your testimony that you belong to the Catholic Church which Jesus Christ started for your salvation.


There is a valid blessing to conclude the Mass. Just wait 5min after Communion. Why should you be entitled to two blessings?


Maybe not but I found a Catholic parish where you can go up for a blessing during communion.




The way it’s supposed to work is that no one should be approaching during Communion for a blessing.

People cannot be denied something when that something is not legitimate in the first place.


How exactly does this come up in conversation? Are you polling non-Catholics for anti-Catholic anecdotes?

“the priest announced that she was not Catholic (mentioning her by name)” This sounds hard to believe. The priest celebrant, as is his duty, will often announce that non-Catholics are not to receive communion but I have never heard of calling someone out by name.

Finally, as others have noted, there is no Church approved practice of blessings in the communion line. Everyone receives a blessing right after communion.


To put it bluntly, those who are not in communion with the Church should not act as if they are.


I guess ya learn something new everyday. I thought the practice of walking up during Communion to receive a blessing in lieu of the Holy Eucharist was a regular part of the Mass. You know, where the congregant places his/her right arm across his/her chest. I’ve seen a lot of people do it, including children who have yet to receive their First.

In that case, I amend my remarks to delete my comment that the priest was wrong to deny the blessing.

I maintain that he erred in publicly mentioning her by name.


Just out of curiosity, how did the priest happen to know her name? Was she a former member of his parish who left the Church? Was she in the habit of approaching at communion time and had been asked to stop previously?

I agree that a public “calling out” is generally not appropriate, but perhaps there is more to the story.


While you may see the above in many parishes, it’s not appropriate.

To me it smacks of the same type of inclusiveness which sees every kid get a ribbon for showing up at a sports meet and everyone get a goodie bag to take home after a birthday party because perish the thought that they should come to the realization that only the birthday boy/girl gets presents because, well, it’s their birthday!


Yes, going up for the “Communion blessing” is another example of things that aren’t supposed to happen, but we see them all the time in most parishes (at least in my diocese). I was definitely taught to do it in my RCIA class, and I didn’t know better then. My child does it, and so do lots of other kids.


And if you live in England and Wales, it is encouraged by our Bishops - it has been encouraged for over forty years since the ‘Swanwick meeting’ in the 1970s, in fact, as the Bishops say that Communion should not be the occasion for hurt and division within families.


The best way that I ever heard this handled was at a funeral in an EC church. The priest explained that going up to communion means that you are Catholic and therefore agree to all the dogma and traditions. Of course one wouldn’t want to accidentally agree to being Catholic! He was honest, but in a way that made people smile and not feel alienated. Communion, by it’s very nature should not alienate. But people also must understand that it is not merely a symbol.


Just because something is tolerated or even encouraged doesn’t mean it is something that is right and proper, nor does a person have a right to it. It is allowed at my parish where I serve because the pastor so chooses it; therefore I honor his wishes while distributing communion. However, when my next pastor comes in he may change this and I will obey him as well.

In general, this is not an approved action in any parish. However, as Fr. David explains, pastoral care must be taken not to alienate just for the sake of rules. It’s called catechesis; these are teaching moments not insulting moments.

Here is an article about this very thing. It references a letter from the Vatican addressing this issue. I also linked another source for you from EWTN’s site from Fr. Edward McNamara.


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