Should a Catholic receive a blessing at a Lutheran ecumenical service?

Hello, I was at an ecumenical prayer service for the beginning of a community event. I went in great part because our diocesan bishop was the invited guest speaker.

I knew there would be lots of singing, reading of the bible, and a homily, but I and my family were not expecting to have a “Communion Service” too. My kids know that they are Catholic and to not receive a Lutheran Communion because we are not in communion with them as believers.

So we did not go up to receive. However, the option was that we could receive a blessing from the Lutheran pastor. I was a bit unsettled and uncomfortable with the situation, feeling a bit compelled, and did not present myself either way.

BTW, our bishop did not present himself for Communion, nor did he receive a blessing.

Next year, I was wondering if it would be okay to present myself for a blessing here. Any comments?


In a situation where you were present because the diocesan bishop was present, I would follow the lead of the diocesan bishop on this. If the bishop is not going up for the blessing or whatever, I wouldn’t go up either.

As Catholics, we don’t believe the Lutheran minister has any power to bless. Therefore, getting a “blessing” from him would be like getting one from the guy in the next pew. The only way someone who isn’t a Catholic priest could “bless” would be to say “May God bless you, liseux” perhaps while making sign of the cross. Then the blessing is coming from God, and not from or through the person who has no power to bless because he isn’t a priest.

If the Lutheran minister is saying “May God bless you” then it would be technically okay. But if the minister were using some other language suggesting the blessing was coming through himself, it wouldn’t be okay.

Easiest to just sit in the pew and not have to deal with it. If you want a blessing, ask your bishop since he’s right there (probably greeting people on the way out of the service) and then you can be sure you’re getting a proper one.


NO. It’s a sin against the First Commandment.

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How so? Can’t one Christian bless another? Can you please explain. Thanks!

Lay people cannot actually give blessings in the same way an ordained priest can give a blessing.

A Lutheran pastor is a lay person.

That is the best course of action. I remain seated during Episcopalian communion when I go with my family, even though the blessing option is offered.

Do as you did this year.


The correct thing to do was the same thing your bishop did. Stay seated.

God Bless.


How so? The Lutheran pastor is giving a blessing in name of the same Lord and God that RC’s revere. There is no idol worship or false god.


As several of us have explained, the Lutheran pastor cannot “give a blessing”. Only Catholic priests can “give blessings”. It is part of their special priestly power.

Lay people, including you, me and the Lutheran pastor, could at most say, “May God bless you” so that God is giving the blessing. I somehow doubt that’s the words the Lutheran pastor uses. In addition, by getting in line to get a blessing from a Lutheran pastor, one is to some extent acknowledging that he is able to give blessings…which we don’t believe.


Please tell me what sets a priest apart in conferring a blessing? As an Anglican I appreciate any blessing imparted by a member of the clergy (even a lay person for that matter).

But my express point was a rejection of the notion that it is a sin against the first commandment (which I should note was received by the Jews). Are you suggesting then that a blessing made by a rabbi is any less valid than that of a RC priest?


This is simply my twopenth worth but I would not go. I believe it wrong to hold a communion service at an ecumenical service. It seems inappropriate to hold a service that can only highlight disunity among Christians, i.e. communion, when the service is meant to be ecumenical.


The Catholic teaching is that only validly ordained Catholic priests can give blessings. I understand there are a handful of Anglicans who might be seen as “validly ordained” under Catholic church rules, so it would be possible for them to give blessings. It would not be possible for any lay person or any clergy who was not a validly ordained Catholic priest to give a blessing. Edited to add, Catholic deacons are also allowed to give some blessings that are specifically allowed to them.

If a Catholic were to knowingly seek and receive a blessing (other than “May God bless you”) from a Lutheran pastor then it might indeed be a sin because it would be acknowledging the pastor’s power to bless, which is against the rules of the Church. We do not go around suggesting by our behavior that the Protestant ministers can validly perform the functions reserved for our holy Catholic priests. They can’t.


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops disagree with you:



I corrected my point regarding deacons above while you were posting.

Can you please explain to me exactly how I am wrong (apart from deacons), because I’m not seeing it. You need to explain, not just give a very long link that you are likely not fully understanding.

The article concerns parents blessing their children and us blessing food at meals (which we would call “Saying Grace”, it’s not the same as a priest blessing food at church services). This is NOT what we normally refer to as “giving a blessing” at church. If the Lutheran pastor came over for lunch, he could say grace for example, as could you, or I. I would further note that the words used for parents blessing children or us blessing food is “Bless Us O Lord” in other words asking GOD to bless. We laypeople do not go around saying “I bless this food” or “I bless this child” etc.

The thread is about a Catholic seeking a blessing at an ecumenical church service. Again - we don’t get blessed by anybody but our bishop or our own priest at that type of service. The Lutheran pastor’s blessing is not valid, you stay in the pew. This is how I was always taught.

From the link you posted:

Indeed, “the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry” ( Catechism of the Catholic Church , no. 1669), often with the participation of the local parish community gathered in prayer. Whenever an ordained minister is present, he should be called upon to give the blessing.

In this case, the “ordained minister” is the bishop and you are at a church service.
If anybody’s giving a blessing, it should be the bishop.

I’m not making this us up. From the catechism itself:

1669: Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a “blessing,” and to bless. Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons).

With respect.

See the quote I posted above.

Laypeople give “certain blessings”. They bless their children, or they bless food. They don’t bless these things themselves, they ask God to do so. This is not the same as a priest blessing.

At a church service, you are in an “ecclesial” situation. The blessing is reserved to the ordained ministry. In other words, the Catholic priest, the bishop, in some cases the deacon.

I have now explained this at least twice and am getting the message that I’ve responded to you too many times, so I’m done here. If you still do not understand the nuance we’re dealing with here and why it is possibly sinful for a Catholic to go running after a Lutheran pastor for a blessing at a church service, and especially when the bishop is right there, then that’s your issue, I guess. Bye.

P.S. This sort of thing is why I myself avoid ecumenical services and avoid Protestant churches other than a wedding or funeral situation. There is always the potential for this sort of disrespect and seemingly willful lack of understanding of how the Catholic church and the Catholic priesthood differs from whatever Joe Protestant thinks he’s perfectly capable of doing.


But you are such fun to converse with. I appreciate your passion for the faith.

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Might not help, won’t hurt.

I pray every day you (and everybody else on here who isn’t Catholic) will just return to the Catholic faith so that we can stop having these arguments and just have nice chats about saints, beer etc.


I wish is could be so simple.

My gut tells me no.

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