From a reader:
The Code of Canon Law (1169.3) restricts deacons to only giving blessings expressly permitted by law. The current Book of Blessings reserves very few blessing to priests only. My question: what blessings, if any, would a deacon be able to give in the former Roman Ritual.
Hmmm… good question.
My first inclination is to say you cannot use it at all… on your own.
Let’s see what Summorum Pontificum says:
Art. 9, § 1. Parochus item, omnibus bene perpensis, licentiam concedere potest utendi rituali antiquiore in administrandis sacramentis Baptismatis, Matrimonii, Poenitentiae et Unctionis Infirmorum, bono animarum id suadente.
Art. 9, § 1. Similarly, a pastor, everything having been well thought out, can grant permission for using the older Ritual in the administration of the sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony, Penance and Anointing of the Sick, as the good of souls suggests.
So… it a pastor of a parish tells you to use the Rituale for the sacraments, you can use it. Keep in mind that deacons weren’t regularly baptizing or marrying in those days, and they can’t anoint at any time, of course, regardless of the book they would want to use.
I think the same would have to go for blessings as well. But then again, deacons probably shouldn’t be doing much of that if there are priests around.
It would be nice if this were clarified by the PCED and Holy Father in the upcoming document.
In the old days, deacons could bless very few things indeed. Now I think they can use the "Book of Blessings" for more things. But remember that the Book of Blessings is essentially useless for blessing things. There is a real clash of theology between the older Rituale and the new, revised book De Benedictionibus.
Your best course of action in this regard might in inaction, until you are ordained a priest.