From a reader:
The following was in our Parish Bulletin this week and is on our parish website… http://www.stanthonyofpadua-buffalo.org. Our parish has an EF Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days. Fr Secondo Casarotto is a great Pastor and we are lucky to have him. I am glad we do not have this type of "liturgical nuance" in our parish.
I thought I would share as you see these "Communion Blessings" more and more, and I thought you may find his commentary worthwhile or worthy of posting.
Interesting. I am not in favor of the practice of blessings at Communion, but I do not refuse to give them if it is obvious that the person is going to kneel there until he gets one. There is a time for blessings during Mass: the end. Communion time is for Communion, right?
Let’s see what this priest has to say.
Traditionally Speaking by S. Casarotto 8/9/09
A growing phenomenon in the “liturgical renewal” is giving a blessing to the faithful who have joined the Communion procession at Mass with no intention of receiving the Eucharist. They ask for a blessing as they fold their arms across their chest to receive it. I do not give this blessing and for many reasons:
1) There is already a blessing to the whole congregation at the end of the mass and I am always available to give a special blessing to those who request it for some special reasons (before going to the hospital, for an anniversary, before taking a long trip, etc.);
2) A blessing at Communion time creates confusion and is a countersign about the purpose of the Communion procession;
3) It is disrespectful to turn the attention from the Eucharist to a person to be blessed. This innovation is nowhere to be found in the instructions for the celebration of the mass. In fact, the Holy See has said many times, “Enough with experimentation” and “Nothing is to be added or taken away from the liturgy” which is “the prayer of Christ and of the Church.” I suspect that this custom started when, as a reaction to a Jansenistic understanding of spiritual worthiness for the Sacraments, well intentioned priests and liturgical committee began to urge the faithful to receive the Eucharist. Everyone, Catholic and non-Catholic, whether in a state of grace or not, came to believe they must join the Communion line. This thinking has been introduced by the false interpretation of “active participation”. As John XXII pointed out, we must ask ourselves why the number of Communions (and auxiliary ministers) skyrocketed while the number of Confessions almost disappeared.
Fr Z, keep up the great work! Thanks for your priestly ministry to our great Church!
I think other factors that contributed to this psychological pressure to go forward even if you shouldn’t are a) row by row Communion processions and b) the reduction of the Eucharistic fast to only one hour before Communion.
I hope Father doesn’t get too much flack for this. He probably will… but I hope not.
No doubt this will stir people up to say how meaningful these blessings are to them and they will express how they make them feel.
I can sympathize with those feelings. However… I think the other points, made by Father, above, are to be followed.