Is it okay to receive a Blessing instead of Communion even if you are allowed to receive?

Is it okay to, instead of receiving Communion everytime one goes to Mass, go up, arms crossed, and receive a Blessing from the Priest/Deacon even if you are allowed to licitly receive Communion (i.e. in a state of grace, fulfilled the 1-hour fast up to Communion reception and are a Catholic in full communion with Rome)?

What on earth for? :confused:

No. These blessings are not licit. Please note that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments noted that:

  1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.
  1. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; Canon 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).
  1. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands — which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here — by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.
  1. The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio n. 84, “forbids any pastor, for whatever reason to pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry”. To be feared is that any form of blessing in substitution for communion would give the impression that the divorced and remarried have been returned, in some sense, to the status of Catholics in good standing.
  1. In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church’s discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing. This would include non-Catholics and those envisaged in can. 915 (i.e., those under the penalty of excommunication or interdict, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin).

If you cannot receive Holy Communion for whatever reason, then, you should remain in your pew and make a Spiritual Communion instead.

Well, especially if one goes to daily Mass a lot, it would help to keep one from turning the Receiving of the Host into some habitual daily ritual (hey, it rhymes). Obviously, I would think that every Sunday (plus the Saturday if you attend that as well) and Holy Day of Obligation and other important days (i.e. Triduum), one should receive Communion if they are licitly able to, but on daily Masses, it might be nice to shake things up a little so it doesn’t become just habit.

Hmm. Looking at this, it seems this is not actually forbidding my question. Basically, it says if someone is under “divorce”, excommunication or a repeated grave sin, they are not to receive a blessing. Also, no laying on of hands by the Priest and no blessings by laity.

I do not think that you should be looking at it like that. Remember, there was a time in England when it was downright criminal (and, fatal) to even participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, much less receive Holy Communion. Priests were apprehended while trying to clandestinely administer the sacraments, and, they were killed. You should not trivialize this in order to shake things up. Even today, there are folks who are willing to risk their lives to receive Our Lord.

There is nothing that says you HAVE to receive Communion every time you got to Mass

Being a daily Communicant is actually considered a good thing. There are many graces to be had from this.

I am confused why you would want to deny yourself the graces of the Sacraments, when you are eligible to receive them?

It is one thing if you have to wait for the Sacraments because you are in the process of conversion, or if there is some kind of on-going problem, but if there is no reason to refrain from the Sacraments, then you should certainly partake of them, as long as you have the time, and it doesn’t interfere with your family life or your work, on weekdays and Saturday mornings.

This also applies to your situation. Everyone is going to receive the final blessing after Mass. What you propose to do is ilicit and not allowed.

I am curious. You were just received a couple of days ago. Why would you not want to receive Our Lord?

I think your argument points even more why, if someone is not going to receive Communion (unless they are under the specific issues mentioned in the statement), they should up for a Blessing. After all, they are still proclaiming their faith in Christ and His Priest publicly, not sitting in the back pew as it were waiting for the Post-Communion Blessing.

Well, I guess I was just wondering. There is something nice about receiving a Priesty Blessing. Earlier today, I went to Mass and I was planning on Receiving, but my Scrupulous mind doubted whether I had violated the 1-hour fast or not, so I went up for a Blessing just to be safe (basically, earlier this morning, I had had McDonald’s, including an iced coffee [this was several hours before Mass], but after finishing the coffee, I the cup on the floor and, later, when I went to throw the cup away, some of the ice had melted and so I drank the last little bit and I was wondering if it was before the 1-hour fast limit or not…it was probably before, but my Scruples bothered and I certainly do not want to Receive unworthily).

Maybe this was not covered in your RCIA class, but, there is no such thing as receiving a blessing in lieu of Holy Communion. The document from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments clearly states that. It not only applies to non-Catholics, but, to anyone else.

Furthermore, as topcat noted, it is not a requirement to receive Holy Communion at every Mass you attend. In fact, Church law indicates that we are only obligated to receive Holy Communion from Ash Wednesday to Trinity Sunday to fulfill our Easter Duty.

To say that you have to make some public proclamation of the faith is to completely miss the point as to why you are at Mass. Your mere presence is a strong enough act of Faith. To stand in line and receiving a blessing (engaging in an ilicit act) is not a profession of Faith, but more like a promotion of something that is not allowed in the first place.

The blessings thing during Holy Communion is not even really part of the Mass, although it is customary in some places to give blessings to those who are ongoingly not (yet) eligible to receive Holy Communion, for whatever reason (ie: even in places where this custom exists, it is not for people who just forgot to go to Confession this week, or who ordinarily are permitted to receive Holy Communion, but can’t at that moment for whatever reason - it is for those who are in an ongoing long-term situation that prevents them from being able to receive Holy Communion.)

If you choose not to receive Holy Communion, for whatever reason, then you should simply remain in your pew and pray the Spiritual Communion prayer.

But is wrong to receive such a Blessing? That thing benedictgal quoted seems to show that it is only wrong if you are either:

A) “Divorce” and "remarried"
B) Non-Catholic
C) Under excommunication/interdict
D) Those who obstinately persist in grave sin

It seems like it is the prerogative of the Priest. At my parish, Priests seem more than willing to give such blessings during Holy Communion.

The letter from the CDWDS clearly states that while the matter is under study, this blessing should not be imparted. In fact, just because some parishes do this, that does not make it a legitimate practice. It was something that should not have been inserted into the Mass in the first place. The line is strictly for those who are receiving Holy Communion, not a blessing.

Remember what the invitation is just prior to the reception of Holy Communion: “Behold, the Lamb of God. Happy are those who are called to the supper.” That means they are called to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ not receive a blessing.

You can ask your priest to give you a blessing outside of Mass. I like doing this, too. :slight_smile:

Earlier today, I went to Mass and I was planning on Receiving, but my Scrupulous mind doubted whether I had violated the 1-hour fast or not, so I went up for a Blessing just to be safe (basically, earlier this morning, I had had McDonald’s, including an iced coffee [this was several hours before Mass], but after finishing the coffee, I the cup on the floor and, later, when I went to throw the cup away, some of the ice had melted and so I drank the last little bit and I was wondering if it was before the 1-hour fast limit or not…it was probably before, but my Scruples bothered and I certainly do not want to Receive unworthily).

In a case like this, if you think you may have violated the fast, simply remain in your pew and pray the Spiritual Communion prayer. And then be more careful next time, to make sure that you have observed the fast. :slight_smile:

benedictgal,

Just a quick question for my own edification, you say that a blessing by a priest (note: not a layperson) is not licit if someone approaches and indicates they do not wish to receive (note: assume they are otherwise permitted to receive). Where is it stated that it is not licit? I haven’t seen it (yet). Or maybe I have, and am just missing something!

Thanks!

Happy Easter!
VC

The celebrant has no prerogative in this. He cannot add or delete anything to or from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Please note what Redemptionis Sacramentum has to say:

11.] The Mystery of the Eucharist “is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured”.27 On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free rein to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved,28 and becomes responsible for actions that are in no way consistent with the hunger and thirst for the living God that is experienced by the people today. Nor do such actions serve authentic pastoral care or proper liturgical renewal; instead, they deprive Christ’s faithful of their patrimony and their heritage. For arbitrary actions are not conducive to true renewal,29 but are detrimental to the right of Christ’s faithful to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church’s life in accordance with her tradition and discipline. In the end, they introduce elements of distortion and disharmony into the very celebration of the Eucharist, which is oriented in its own lofty way and by its very nature to signifying and wondrously bringing about the communion of divine life and the unity of the People of God.30 The result is uncertainty in matters of doctrine, perplexity and scandal on the part of the People of God, and, almost as a necessary consequence, vigorous opposition, all of which greatly confuse and sadden many of Christ’s faithful in this age of ours when Christian life is often particularly difficult on account of the inroads of “secularization” as well.31

Therefore, it is not his call to make. Thus, these blessings in lieu of Holy Communion should not be happening in the first place, regardless of who shows up and wants to receive one. It is not the celebrant’s call to make.

All right. Well, then I guess if I am able to receive Communion, then I should do so. Now, did I sin in going up to receive a Blessing earlier?

Yes, I understand this.

What I am saying is, even those priests who do this (without commenting on whether they ought to do this or not) intend it for those who are not able to receive Holy Communion because of their state or situation in life.

They typically don’t intend for it to be for people who forgot to go to Confession, or who didn’t observe the Communion fast, or who had an angry thought about a fellow parishioner during Mass, and thus, at that specific moment cannot receive Holy Communion, but ordinarily, they usually can - even these priests (and again, not commenting one way or the other on the issue of blessings in general) would tell the person to make a Spiritual Holy Communion in their pew, and then be properly disposed to receive the next time they come to Mass.

That’s all I’m driving at.

But yes, I understand your point, as well, and I agree with you that these blessing ought not to be done, since they do seem to take on the character of a “substitute Holy Communion.” (As I think this thread itself is amply demonstrating.)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.