Is it the Norm?


Quick question that is a spin off of the “How Judgmental” thread:

Do the majority of Catholic Churches (in the USA)teach in RCIA that catechumens/candidates are supposed to go forward at time for the Eucharist, with arms crossed for a blessing? Or is there a lot of disagreement among priests about this?


I think there is disagreement among the armchair liturgists on CAF. I don’t think the vast majority of priests have a problem with it. In any case, if your RCIA team encourages you to go up for a blessing, you know that the priests in your parish are in favor of the idea.


Don’t know what the majority of RCIA programs say on this, but it is definitely a local custom. It is not even mentioned in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. In places where it is prevalent, since there is no “rubric” on it, priests vary anywhere from strongly encouraging it to vehemently opposing it.


It is not a norm. A norm is something in the rubrics such as in the General Instructions of the Roman Missal, established by universal canon law, the bishops’ conference or a province of bishops where they have that authority, by the local ordinary as a particular law where allowed, or as otherwise established by the Church in writing as the way thing are done.

This ‘approach for blessing’ phenomenon is not in the rubrics or the law. It is not established as the way things are done by any office of the Church.

The only *documentation *on this is from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments saying it’s not to be done.

What the “majority of churches” do or do not do is actually irrelevant. What they do or don’t do does not establish a norm.

I take it to mean you are asking, “if I went into 100 churches, what would I typically see?” That is actually anyone’s guess. You’d see people doing it along with priests tolerating it, discouraging it, and openly encouraging it. None of which is the norm.


But, certainly not a hilll worth dying on. As an RCIA Team Coordinator, we see it done in our parish at the bequest of the Pastor and priests, but we certainly do not mandate it.

In the end, while it is important to observe the teachings and rubrics, if you want to, do it…although I can’t speak for Him, but because of my faith in the unlimited love and mercy of God, I could never imagine that such action will put your salvation in jeopardy, or lead to the erosion and downfall of the Roman Rite or Holy Catholic Church…

…although, I fully expect I’m going to take a liberal dose of brotherly correction, which I will take with all humility…but, without changing my opinion.

Peace and all Good!


Are they not in “Breaking the Word” during this time?


Breaking Open the Word isn’t for the Baptized and isn’t even done during Mass time in many parishes.


Perhaps, but “Breaking the Word” is not conducted at all Masses (weekday, Saturday Evening, Vigils, all Sunday Masses (if several are celebrated on a Sunday)), and at some parishes, it might not be conducted until after the Rite of Acceptance, or the Rite of Election.


No correction from me.

If I had my druthers, I’d say that the communion line is for receiving communion. I tell folks about making a spiritual communion and make sure they understand that if they are visiting elsewhere, they may run into a parish where blessings aren’t given. But my pastor has made it clear that he welcomes everyone to come up during communion and I’m not going to speak against him. I’m also not going to speak against the many people who have commented how much it means to them to be able to go up for a blessing at communion.

Even the Pope Emeritus has recognized how common it is to offer a blessing at communion:

In many countries it has become customary for persons who are not able to receive communion (for example, the members of other confessions) to approach the altar with their hands folded over their chests, making it clear that they are not receiving the sacrament but are asking for a blessing, which is given to them as a sign of the love of Christ and of the Church. This form could certainly be chosen also by persons who are living in a second marriage and therefore are not admitted to the Lord’s table. The fact that this would make possible an intense spiritual communion with the Lord, with his whole Body, with the Church, could be a spiritual experience that would strengthen and help them. Source]


I agree with your druthers. :wink: I also believe that it kind of “waters” down their first approach to the Altar when receiving for the very first time.
but, again, that’s just my 2 cents.


I fourth SMD, 1ke, and pianistclare. It’s not nearly as serious as, say, a Protestant going up to receive communion, but it’s probably best to stick to the rubrics, and make a spiritual communion instead.

The rubrics drawn up by the bishops, rather than the practise of the collective worship of all parishes, establishes the norm. (Which doesn’t mean there can’t be exceptions.)


when i was in RCIA we were first were prayed for by the Priest and congreation before being dismissed to do our study as a class after the liturgy of the word.


You may say that but Catholics, while they can disagree with disciplines of the Church, they must accept them.
While the letter from the CDW was a response to a question it did state that existing Church disciplines do not permit Catholics in a state of mortal sin and non-Catholics to receive Communion nor receive a blessing.
The CDW states there is such a discipline. They are the authority who would know this.
What I don’t understand is why the laity and priests are not obeying the Church discipline.


Because the priests and laity in some places have found something that works. I believe I read that in England and Wales the bishops have encouraged (not simply allowed) those not receiving communion to come up for a blessing. This may be one of those areas where different practices in different countries take hold. I would guess that if the US bishops voted on the matter, the majority would vote to allow blessings.

Still not my favorite thing, but, as Neofight said, not a hill to die on.


Odds are that it was not distributed to all dioceses, let alone to all parishes. My recollection (and this could be wrong), was that it was a specific response to a specific inquiry; and as such, would not be published to all (as in, being sent to all). And assuming that the quote from Benedict 16 noted above is not pulled out of context, it may be one of those issues where there is disagreement even in Rome, and Rome chooses not to make a point of it.

A bit like the issue of holding hands during the Our Father, which has gone on for about 48 or 49 years, and which has been ignored in how many GIRM releases - 3? 4? - in that time, there are issues which Rome chooses to not make a point about. This also has not been treated in the GIRM issues, but certainly is capable of being so treated.


Right. The Deacons in my parish have heard or read nothing about this, OR about the hand holding that people get all worked up about. The priest knows, but (are you ready)?
**Says it’s not a hill he wants to die on. ** :wink:


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