EMHC Giving Blessing?

Where is it documented by the Church that EMsHC are not to bestow blessings during communion? More specifically, where is the prohibition documented for a layperson to bless someone else in the Name of the Holy Trinity while making the sign of the cross? Thank you.

This topic is under a moratorium. Please see the moratorium section above. It should be noted that the Book of Blessings only has laymen bless things with “hands joined”, and not hands extended or outstretched like a priest or deacon. Either way, please check the moratorium section at the top of the Liturgy and Sacraments page.

I was not aware. My apologies. If anyone should know a good reference, please PM it to me. Thanks.

I would argue the point about this being covered by the moratorium. As this is a private website the decision will, of course, be made by the moderator.

The moratorium is on giving blessings at the time of Holy Communion. I believe this relates to persons in the Communion line receiving a blessing instead of Holy Communion. Some argue in favour of it and some against. When these blessings are given they may be given by sacred ministers. Sacred ministers can obviously give blessings.

It is arguble here that the OP is slightly different. It’s about EMHCs giving blessings, even though in the context of Communion. Before anyone says this is all EMHCs do anyway, that’s not quite true. They can give Holy Communion outside Mass - a variety of circumstances; and, they can expose and repose the Blessed Sacrament.

I would agree with the OP: EMHCs shouldn’t be giving blessings, under any circumstances. I don’t believe lay persons can give blessings. We can pray to God to bless someone or something but I don’t think lay persons can actually bless anyone, anything, or anywhere. I’d be happy to be proved wrong, with quotes from appropriate sources.

I agree with you that blessings in lieu of Holy Communion should not be done; however, the CDWDS’s statement (which, though private, reflects their thoughts on the matter) seems to discourage said blessings by laity and clergy alike.

I also agree with you that the blessings laity are allowed to impart by the Book of Blessings are invocative, rather than constitutive.

I didn’t actual say that; that would be breaking the moratorium:)

Gotcha. :wink:

Let me rephrase the question so it does not violate the prohibition.

Does the Church prohibit one layperson from saying “may God bless you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” to another Catholic layperson while making the sign of that cross in front of that person, outside of the Mass? Thanks.


But it’s not an “official” “clerical” blessing. :wink: Undoubtedly some will argue that it’s a forbidden practice, but to my knowledge there’s no prohibition against such a practice.

A general response: maybe we should refrain from asking “where is this prohibited,” especially regarding formal blessings and the liturgy, and just ask “where is this taught?”

Where, o where, does the Church ever ask lay people to do such things? If those responsible actually read the permissions for use of EMHCs and followed them, use of EMHCs would drop drastically.

Anyone can do what you say. You can say may God bless you. All laypersons’ blessings are invocative only. They’re like a prayer or petition asking God to grant a blessing but we can’t actually bless anything. Unlike sacred ministers who bless persons, things, and places which results in some change to who, what and where is blessed.

Thanks for the comment, it sounds correct. I realize there is a danger that some could confuse such a blessing with one they receive from a cleric. On the other hand it’s nice to know thee is no hard prohibition as some would suggest.

The Book of Blessings lists which blessings may be used by laity, but as stated above, they are merely invocative blessings, not constitutive.

If you do a search, you will find they cannot and are not supposed to look like they are giving a blessing. A blessing is no substitute for the Eucharist. It is a line to receive the Eucharist, there is no line for blessings. A general blessing for everyone immediately follows, given by the PRIEST.

not to violate the moritorim but.
a lay person is never to give a blessing like a priest or any major order would. they are not to say it like a priest or deacon would. like the others say, read the book of blessings.

Does any one know if the “Book of Blessings” is available online?

I tried, it appears its not.

So, your search was as fruitless as mine. I thought someone might know. It doesn’t seem to have been “taken up” here in the UK. The only ones I’ve ever seen in Catholic bookshops is the version approved for use in the dioceses of the USA.

I was hoping that at least the prænotanda may have been available.

This is sort of eye-opening for me. I used to think the Church formally prohibited a layperson from making the sign of the cross while blessing someone. (I probably saw this somewhere on EWTN.) In reality this doesn’t seem to be the case at all.

Depending on the situation it might be prudent for a layperson not to make the sign of the cross (something many associate with clerics) while blessing someone as they wouldn’t want to make the person feel as though they are being blessed in the manner only a cleric can bless them.

Very enlightening. Thank you.

Well, according to the Book of Blessings, whenever a layman is allowed to bless someone/something, he always says the prayer of blessing with hands joined. Similarly, when a layman is leading Lauds/Vespers or the Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest, he/she signs himself/herself while saying the concluding formula (which is a different formula than that used by a priest or deacon). It then seems that the Church discourages the use of laity making the Sign of the Cross over someone/something within liturgies.

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