Our modernist priest blesses the congregation at the end of Mass with “May Almighty God bless us …” where can I find the directive that he should be saying, “May Almighty God bless you …” ? And, is his blessing at all efficacious, in any event?
The Council of Trent taught:
“If anyone shall say that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church accustomed to be used in the solemn administration of the sacraments may be disdained or omitted by the minister without sin and at pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches to other new ones: let him be anathema” (DS 1613/856).
Vatican II taught that, beyond the Pope and to some extent bishops,
“Therefore, absolutely no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (SC 22).
The Code of Canon Law says:
“The liturgical books approved by the competent authority are to be faithfully observed in the celebration of the sacraments; therefore no one on personal authority may add, remove or change anything in them” (CIC, can. 846, §1).
The CDW’s 2004 disciplinary document Redemptionis Sacramentum, says:
59. The reprobated practice by which priests, deacons or the faithful here and there alter or vary at will the texts of the Sacred Liturgy that they are charged to pronounce, must cease. For in doing thus, they render the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy unstable, and not infrequently distort the authentic meaning of the Liturgy.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2002) also says:
Nevertheless, the priest must remember that he is the servant of the Sacred Liturgy and that he himself is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of Mass. [GIRM 24]
Father’s antic may be relatively innocent, but it is also evidence of a flawed understanding of the hieratic role we priests have.
We bless. We consecrate. We absolve. Christ, acting in us, does these things. They are His word and acts and our words and acts. We are priests for you in a way that the baptized cannot be for themselves.
We are here for you, dear laypeople, not just for ourselves, though our vocation is our road to heaven.
For you… we follow the rubrics and the texts the Church, in Her wisdom, gives to us. For you… we don’t make up things on our own volition or change things because we think it sounds better our way.
When a priest refuses to use the Church’s text and decides to bless “us” rather than you, his blessing becomes a mere wish, an expressed desire.
At Mass, in the Ordinary Form, at the end of the penitential act, the priest says, “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.” This is a prayer, and an expression of a pious desire of the priest. It is not a blessing.
When the priest says, using the texts the Church gives him, “May Almighty God bless you…” he shows that he understands his role and the nature of the priesthood
It might be fun to get a little passive-aggressive with Father. When he sneezes, say, “Bless us!” When he does something nice, go up to him and say, “O, thank us very much, Father!”
Or else, “Hey! Hey Faddah! You know that thing that you make up at the end, that ‘Bless us” thing? I can’t help thinking of Gollum saying [in Gollum voice…] ‘Bless us and splash us, Precious!”
After that… I’ll be he will too… maybe until he stops. Maybe after one more week when he hears himself in Gollum voice in his head.
Oh yes… pray for him.