Pastoral Authority of Parents


I heard from a Franciscan priest that parents have pastoral authority over their children and can bless them. He also said that when a parent curses his/her child it is very dangerous. The thing that surprised me was how much pastoral authority a parent has. Can anyone comment on this?


The word “pastoral” means to give spiritual guidance. Parents are usually the first to carry out this function, in a childs life. A good example of this is that they arrange the Sacrament of Baptism for their children. Then, follow through with the childs religious education… etc. So, it seems logical that parents DO have “pastoral authority”.

I’m not sure about the blessing part, though. If the Franciscan priest meant, “blessing” in the same sense that a priest or deacon blesses… I don’t think it would be the same thing, for a parent. Because priests and deacons are consecrated by Holy Orders. A parent can certainly “bless” their child in a general sense… such as praying and providing for them… or correcting them, when necessary; but I don’t think it would be the same type of blessing you’d receive from a priest or deacon.

I hope someone more knowledgable will reply. God bless.


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