Well, basically that: if a priest were to bless something without
following the ritual, assuming he has the intention to bless it, says “I/God bless you”, it’s done in the Holy Name of the Trinity, etc: Is it as any other blessed object?
I don’t know for sure.
There are some factors to weigh.
First, what “ritual” are we talking about? The older, traditional Rituale Romanum or the new, ridiculous Book of Blessings (which ironically doesn’t have blessings in it, but rather texts full of happy thoughts)?
Let’s assume you mean the Rituale Romanum. No, wait, we need more distinctions. Is it the Rituale itself, or is it a book of commonly used rites and blessings excerpted from the Rituale? The Collectio Rituum or Parish Ritual for example? US HERE I posted about it HERE (and there is a newer edition). This is a replacement for the old Collectio. Is it a volume of what is commonly called “Weller” after the translator? It has Latin and English side by side. US HERE – UK HERE
Down to business. The Rituale Romanum in effect at the time of the Council (which is is the edition authorized for use by Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae 35) says explicitly that blessings are to be done in Latin or they are invalid.
The Rituale Romanum, Title 8, Chapter 1 gives the general rules for blessings. These are also presented in Weller, vol. 3, pp. 2-5.
Note that n. 2 states:
“Benedictiones sive constitutivae sive invocativae invalidae sunt, si adhibita non fuerit formula ab Ecclesia praescripta.
Both constitutive and invocative blessings are invalid if the form prescribed by the Church is not used.”
Weller’s English translations were never approved for use, even in that interim time after the Council when more English could be used. The translations are for reference, not use. The LATIN is approved for use.
Here’s the bad news for all those priests out there who think that they can, for example, bless Holy Water using the ENGLISH in the Weller volume:
Fathers, you are not blessing Holy Water.
If you used the Weller English to exorcize and bless salt, exorcize and bless water for Holy Water, you’ve just got plain ol’ salty water. Have you been using Weller English to bless people’s statues, medals, houses? Let’s not even get into using the English in a post-Conciliar edition of the Collectio or in Weller for exorcisms in baptisms.
Circling back to the top, I want to say clearly that if a priest “were to bless something without following the ritual” I really don’t know what happens.
Here are the factors I put into the scales of my mind.
- God loves us and wants us to have blessed things.
- The Church without doubt said that the approved text, meaning Latin, has to be used.
- God knows that 99% of priests don’t know Latin because the Church has, manifestly contrary to the law, cheated them out of that critical aspect of their formation and identity.
- God is not limited by the Church’s positive law concerning blessings.
- Priests of the Roman Catholic Church ought to pray like Roman Catholic priests.
- The Rituale Romanum itself states that it is a starting point, a reference point for the development of local rituals.
- It is extremely important to maintain the categories of constitutive and invocative blessings against modernist encroachment and the campaign against them.
- We are our rites!
- The wider world is affected by what we do regarding sacred objects, places and persons. Getting it right is more important than our comfort zone.
Putting all of that into the mental hopper and letting it macerate, when a priest blesses (constitutive) using some other form than what is in the book, I am not sure what happens. I am inclined to think that, God being merciful, something happens. If, for example, someone were to walk up to me and ask me to bless the Rosary she was holding out, and if I were to make the sign of the Cross over it while saying something like, Benedictus benedicat (which I got from my old mentor the holy and late, great Card. Mayer), I am inclined to think that the Rosary was blessed.
However, I cannot argue that I don’t know Latin. I cannot argue that I don’t have the proper formula in Latin for the blessing of a Rosary because a) I know it and b) it’s in my Breviary app on my phone. Instead of just saying “Benedictus benedicat“, I could take about 5 seconds to open the app and find the proper text for a blessing or, in a pinch, even use the text ad omnia… for all things.
God has to make up for my many deficiencies all the time, but I don’t ask Him to make up for my being deficient when it comes to blessings and sacramental forms! No one walks away from my confessional and wonders if the form of absolution in Latin was valid or walks away with freshly blessed statues or rosaries and doubts for a second that they were blessed.
Let’s not, Fathers, make milk-toast, feckless, half-assed efforts when doing something as important as blessing things, which often includes exorcizing them first (Holy Water, St. Benedict medals, etc.).
Let’s be Roman Catholic priests and use our Latin. We are our rites. This has to do with our identity and the knock on effect it has on the wider Church.
Let’s not whine that the Latin is toooo haaard. If it really is tooo haaard for you, should you really be a priest of the Roman Church? That’s a little harsh, I know, hyperbolic. But, c’mon men! You get my point! Little boys learn some Latin to serve Mass! Latin is a language, and I don’t mean language like the aptly named computer programming language Malbolge. Latin is meant to be learned and used.
If Latin seems to be tooo haaard what you really need to do is rearrange your priorities until you get some Latin calluses on your hands. You’ll find that Latin isn’t that hard once you try.
If for nothing else, if not even for your priestly identity, then learn the Latin so that you can bless things and exorcize and even absolve and anoint and baptize and leave not the slightest trace of a doubt in anyone’s mind that what you did was valid and that it resulted in the desired effect. If you don’t use the Latin for yourself, do it for the good of and the peace of mind of others.