Last night we went to a Mass at other than my normal parish and experience something new. This parish had never been on my list of places to go for good liturgy, though normally during Christmastide you at least get Carols instead of the usual dreck.
At the end of the Mass the priest was going to bless some blankets that had been made for the sick of the parish. The blankets though had been left somewhere else and they had forgotten to bring them into the main Church. The priest then did the blessing anyway and had everybody else hold their right arms out at the same time as he read the blessing.
I could hardly believe what I was seeing. My wife looked at me strangely wondering about this behavior as we both did not follow along. She later told me she was close to laughing seeing this and I was more amazed than amused. We were in pews towards the back of the Church and what we could see was all these people holding their right arms out in what looked pretty close to a Nazi salute.
Now I don’t know enough about sacramental theology as to whether a priest can actually bless an object in another building. I know you can receive an indulgence by listening to the Pope’s Urbi et orbi message live or that you can receive blessings live over the radio, so maybe the blessing of blanket that weren’t there is possible.
What really annoyed me is that once again the difference between the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of the faithful was minimized or apparently eliminated. That an act of community once again trumped sound theology and practice. We keep blurring these lines to the point that we know neither the power of the priesthood or the power of the priesthood of the faithful. That a priestly blessing becomes no different than one from the laity. It seems we will do anything for a sign of community except teach sound theology in this regards.
We have this happen every Sunday in my parish. Just before the readings the Deacon or the Pastoral Assistant calls the children up to be dismissed for a “children’s mass” The Deacon will bless the children. If it is the PA or one of the priest They will also ask the “community” to raise their arms and bless the children. I have wondered about this for the year and a half I’ve been in this parish if this is an abuse or not. I never thought it was a good thing, and I never raise my arm as I see it as illicit.
It certainly undercuts the authority of the priests and unnecessarily blurs the lines.
Weird. I’m glad this doesn’t happen in my parish. I don’t know what the priest’s rationale is.
It seems no more impossible for the priest to bless something in another building than it is for the pope to extend a blessing to the families of the people attending a wednesday audience which is quite regular.
This view is assisted by the fact that this is in no means a sacramental blessing and so the requirements of form would be fairly relaxed
Two comments Jeff..
First, you weren’t down by GCS, were you? Only reason I ask is that I see that about once a month at the parish I attend down there.
Second, on the “outstretched hands” thing – the way it’s always been pitched to me (when done with people) is in terms of “praying over” someone. It’s not the fact that the blessing the priest is giving is somehow being also given by those in attendance. It’s more of those in the congregation being asked to add their prayers to that which the priest is praying (which sound very similiar to what the default behavior at Mass should be) – the outstreched hands in that regard is more of a physical reminder, that for lack of a better way to put it, “we’re all in this praying together.”
Now, whether or not this should happen with the blankets is a completely separate discussion for those far smarter than I.
Yes, they do this at my parish sometimes on special occasions when doing a blessing, however, i always thought it was a physical acknowledgement that we were praying for the person in question, not that we were doing what the priest was doing and giving a blessing…i don’t really see it as blurring a line between clergy and laity for this reason
I experienced something similar at a Saturday evening Vigil Mass that I attended close to my home because I was unable to attend Mass at my own parish church the following Sunday morning (we don’t have Saturday evening Mass).
There was a Baptism of an infant and at the final Blessing the priest asked everyone to raise their right hand for this. I was so taken off guard that I did not do it instinctively or at all.And I must say that it looked very strange to see everyone comply.
I have to avoid these Catholic churches that make me angry while at Mass and causing me to sin while I’m there to help save my bloody soul!
Yes, it is possible to bless something in another building. All that matters is the priest having the intent to bless those objects as he preforms the blessing.
This is so common place in Windsor Ontario Canada that the local Tridentine Indult may be the only Mass one could attend regularly and not be subjected to it.
Unfortunately you’re not alone. Our priest does it every week when children are dismissed for Sunday School, “Let’s raise our hands in blessing over our children.”
And then the whole congregation applauds as they leave . . . and they applaud again when the kiddies re-enter just prior to dismissal. Catechumens also get clapped out, and they have their own jingle, too.
I figure bowing my head and praying along effectively constitutes Full Active Participation, so that’s all I do. I wish Father would just give them a blessing and send them forth.
I, too, have experienced the Nazi Blessing on an occasional, though not frequent, basis–blessing of catechists, children, catechumens, couples on monumental anniversaries, and the like. It can be a bit intimidating to be on the receiving end of it, as well. I also have seen some priests, perhaps wanting to preclude any errant ‘Heil Hitlers’ from slipping out, tell the congregation to extend both arms, in which case we look like a motley crowd of Superman impersonators.
This is a significant display of being in one accord~ “where there are two or mor gathered in My Name there also shall I Be”This gives rise to many arguments…. First and foremost~ “I will send You a comforter in My stead, until My Return” To me this is saying that All who are saved, are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, as reserch by science has recently discovered, the human D.N.A. when broken down to elemental conversion and equally applied to any Known human alphabet numerically (as is the Hebrew system of letters) when screened reveals that all human D.N.A. contains the strand message, “Eternal God Dwells within” Ref., America Coast-to-Coast) saying that all have God in them,(“The Father”)(Whether Saved or not)therefor When procaliming Faith, and being water Baptized, We proclaim and except (“The Son”), When this is done the gift of (“The Holy Spirit)(or Ghost”)(and Salvation)), are Yours. This could reasonalbly lead one to the conclusion that if you already have God in You and exept and proclaim Christ in You There be two, plus one (You) be three The Holy Spirit (Conforter) be four. So when You pray If You are saved, and extend Your hand, because God is around us all and in us all and we are in christ and He is in God and Through God, and the spirit is of and through God and Christ, and in us also we are in one accord, and touching and agreeing with God we have the The Trinity at this point.
when many are gathered in one accord this gives power en-mass.
A priest (or) ordained (Anointed) Minister of the Gospel is one to whom God has given Assignment, it is not a personal choice, God is not a respector of People, He choses who He wil when he will and as he will, So That his word will be perpetuated as he has always intended in the Human Spirit which he created before The Begining of Time, As is written. To they so chosen, He instills favor of devine knowledge and thought which is not to be taken lightly.
There are many whom are called, but not all come, there are many who are not called and are living a lie! This holds true and knows no denomination, that is why there is scandal in the churches All. May The Good Lord bestow upon all who read this the Blessing that He deems fit!
Forgot to save info, appologies…..