ASK FATHER: Blessing of guns and ammo

From a priest…


 I hope you are well … TC Motu Inapproprio and all else considered.
I need to bless new guns and ammo for some Catholic men. I remember something like this on your blog.
Is there something specific in the Rituale for this ? I’d rather not use ad omnia.

This on a day when all I want to do is have a analyze chess opening, do my daily Hungarian lesson and have a quiet nap.  Especially today now that “walking and talking together” is underway.  Sheesh.  I wonder what demon goddess they will adopt as a guiding inspiration this time?  My money’s on Kali.  Or maybe Durga, given the topic of this question.

For those of you who have a quivering spittle-flecked nutty at the thought of guns and, even more, at the thought of priests blessing guns, try to fight through your murk of fatuity and remember that guns are morally neutral inaminate tools.  They can be used in many ways.  Whiners should consider that it is only because of guns that they are … well, were … freer than most in the world.

In the past I have answered this question with the blessing “ad omnia”, but you don’t want that.  Okay.  I rise to the challenge.

In the pre-John XXIII Pontificale Romanum (meaning that it wasn’t for priests) there were blessings for arms, a benedictio armorum (meaning armor) and a benedicto ensis (blessing of a sword). Ensis for a “sword” is rather more poetical in use than the more prosaic “gladius“.  Hence, it strikes me that you could just leave it be as ensis for “weapon”, to be conceived as “gun”.  Otherwise, there are neologisms.  See below.

Here they are from the Pontificale issued by Leo XIII.


Pontifex ensem benedicere volens, illo cui tradendus est coram eo genuflectente, quem unus ex ministris coram eo tenet, stans sine mitra, dicit:
V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R. Qui fecit coelum et terram.
V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Bene+dicere digneris, quaesumus, Domine, ensem istum; et hunc famulum tuum, qui eum, te inspirante, suscipere desiderat, pietatis tuae custodia munias, et illaesum custodias. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
R. Amen.
Deinde aspergat ensem aqua benedicta. Tum sedens, accepta mitra, tradit eum illi, cui tradendus est, genuflexo coram eo permanente, dicens:
Accipe ensem istum, in nomine Pa+tris, et Fi+lii, et Spiritus + Sancti, et utaris eo ad defensionem tuam, ac sanctae Dei Ecclesiae, et ad confusionem inimicorum crucis Christi, ac fidei christianae; et quantum humana fragilitas permiserit, cum eo neminem injuste laedas; quod ipse tibi praestare dignetur, qui cum Patre, et Spiritu Sancto vivit et regnat Deus in saecula saeculorum.
R. Amen.

Since most hand guns are semi-automatic or revolvers, and therefore capable of relatively rapid fire, the word for a weapon that could launch multiple arrows or bolts could be use: polybolum, n.   I remember another word we had in Foster’s classes, manuballista, f., for the handheld version of a catapult, really more like a slingshot, I guess.   A word for a rifle is scloptum, n.  Carabina, f., is in use as well as pistolium, m.  A bullet would be glans, glandis, f., which were balls of lead thrown at the enemy, according to Julius Caesar.  I suppose you could use proiectile, n.   You wouldn’t generally deal with singular, so glandes and proiectilia.


Bene+dicere digneris, quaesumus, Domine, pistolios, sclopeta et glandes… qui eos (just use masculine for all of them) … 

This following could be used for, for example, body armor, like a chest rig with plates, kevlar, etc.


Pontifex benedicturus arma, quae aliquis ministrorum coram eo tenet, aut supra altare vel aliquam mensam ponuntur, stans sine mitra, dicit:
V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R. Qui fecit coelum et terram.
V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Benedictio Dei omnipotentis Pa+tris, et Fi+lii, et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super haec arma, et super induentem ea, quibus ad tuendam justitiam induatur. Rogamus te, Domine Deus, ut illum protegas, et defendas, qui vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
R. Amen.

Alia Oratio.

Deus omnipotens, in cujus manu victoria plena constitit, quique etiam David ad expugnandum rebellem Goliam vires mirabiles tribuisti, clementiam tuam humili prece deposcimus, ut haec arma almifica pietate bene+dicere digneris; et concede famulo tuo N. eadem gestare cupienti, ut ad munimen, ac defensionem sanctae matris Ecclesiae, pupillorum, et viduarum, contra visibilium et invisibilium hostium impugnationem, ipsis libere et victoriose utatur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
R. Amen.

Deinde aspergit ea aqua benedicta.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Why wouldn’t you bless firearms? You don’t want them to be stolen, you don’t want them to be misused, you don’t want them to misfire, you don’t want them to malfunction at critical moments, and you don’t want accidents. A blessing on our weapons seems a good means of building on our prudence and common sense.

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  3. Dustin F, OCDS says:

    If I have ammo blessed, is it then acceptable (and not, say, sacrilegious) to kiss it devotionally? In my most pious moments, I am inspired to kiss my brown scapular, but these days I would also be inclined to carry around some blessed 5.56 casings and kiss those.

  4. hwriggles4 says:

    Prayers to Saint Gabriel Postini, patron saint of handguns.

  5. Gab says:

    Wish we are allowed guns in Australia, but alas, no Second Amendment here.

    Hold on to that Second Amendment will all your might!

  6. Liz says:

    Oh, Gab, you all are in our prayers especially at mass and in our rosaries. God bless our friends Down Under.

  7. Bthompson says:

    Blessing of arms: because (as one news commentator put it) we are called to love our enemies, even if we have to kill them.

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  9. Semper Gumby says:

    Great post and comments.

    Blessed be the Lord my God, who teacheth my hands to fight, and my fingers to war. Psalm 144 [143]

    “he that hath not, let him sell his coat and buy a sword” – Luke 22

    The Commies, the Nazis, the ChiComs and the pagan Globalists want your minds, your children and your weapons. God bless the First and Second Amendments.

    *cue guitar and banjo*

    In the peaceful town of Rock Ridge we don’t take kindly to varmints who want our minds, our young ‘uns and our shootin’ irons.

    When our lookout up in the steeple, Booker T. Washington, points out to the prairie and yells down to the street, “Here dey come!” here’s what we’re gonna’ do.

    First, womenfolk and the chiluns inside. Then, out comes double-barrelled shotguns from under the bar at Last Chance Saloon. Remingtons, Colts and Glocks fly off the wall of Sven Larson’s Mercantile. The Army vets climb up from their root cellars with armloads of bipods, tripods, body armor, medieval armor, pikes, radio mikes, catapults, Deus Vult, sniper rifles, explosive trifles, battering rams, canned Spam, lariats, chariots, hand grenades, sharpened blades and Gatorade, bayonets, tourniquets, missiles and material fissile, tasers, lasers, caltrops, napalm dollops, crossbow bolts, thunderbolts, sharpened tent pegs, Chuck Norris jpegs, and antitank ditches.

    While we get all that sorted out on Main Street, Booker T. Washington is at his post, lighting the sagebrush under the oil cauldrons and calling down the intel.

    “Here dey come! It’s the Pachamama Gang! Dey say they gonna’ “participate” everybody, and “smell like the sheep.”

    Oh no, we forgot something. Clancy, Buford, Elliot and Trigger-happy Tom are swiftly dispatched to protect the livestock.

    “Lordy! Dere’s more, they was hidin’ in Dry Gulch, it’s the Vaxx Clan!”

    Heh. No problem. We got plenty of horse medicine and sneezing powder to keep them at a distance.

    “Shiver me timbers!” (Booker T. is a Navy vet) Dey was hiding behind the cactus, it’s the Death Party! Dey wanna’ dress the young ‘uns in drag and turn the schoolmarm into a shrieking harpy!”

    On Main Street we look at each other and grin. Finally. Bolts slam home, safeties flick off, tobacco juice flies through the air. Quiet descends on Main Street. Stetsons and dusters: on. Trigger fingers: on the trigger guard. Eyes: steely and squinting.


    …we ain’t gonna’ fire the first shot- very important, my friends. We’re gonna’ let ’em in town. Let ’em water their horses and fill their canteens at the trough. Keep ’em away from Last Chance Saloon. Let Fr. O’Malley, Reverend Cleophus and Rabbi Mandelbaum talk to ’em (don’t make Padre use Latin, he will). If they make a move for their weapons, well you really didn’t think we didn’t put sedatives in the horse trough and left nobody on the rooftops…

    If they still get ornery after all this, if their eyes and fangs bulge out and they try to projectile vomit on the Men of the Cloth, they’re told to “Git!” before sundown, the Sheriff reminding them there’s two ways out of town, the trail or Boot Hill.

    Happy Columbus Day, everyone.

    In God, ‘Merica and Chuck Norris We Trust.

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Hitler finds out Chuck Norris is coming:

    “Mein Fuhrer, we’ve just learned the U.S. has deployed their Chuck Norris on us. He swims the Atlantic as we speak.”

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    Expanding on Gab’s 2nd Amendment comment and hwriggles4’s St. Gabriel Possenti comment, here are two maps portraying the right to carry by state, the first from 1986 the second from 2021:

    “Without firing a shot (except at the firing range), Americans have won a revolution – state by state.”

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    There is a biblical right to self-defense. Skills required for firearms include proper training, marksmanship, cleaning and storage.

    Also important is the character and thought process of the trigger-puller. An important post and discussion: “Books for boys. Suggested titles and an additional point.”

    “Real stories for real boys, however, refuse to deliver saccharine platitudes. These books are composed of the uncanny, unforeseeable, and unimaginable.”

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    Anthony Esolen, “Esolen’s observations on boys and men and what women cannot give them”

    “The boy does not simply grow into manhood, for manhood is a cultural reality built on a biological foundation. Womanhood, by contrast, is a biological reality with cultural expression.”

    “Esolen points out what always was and today ought to still be obvious but has been obfuscated.”

  14. Semper Gumby says:

    A web search or visit to your local gun shop provides info on local gun laws, training and tactical training. Free training is sometimes available. Invite your priest for some skeet shooting followed by barbecue.

    Two links that may be helpful:

    There are numerous veteran-owned firearm manufacturing and repair, and firearm training companies.

    Free first aid training may be available via the Red Cross. Here’s a veteran-owned company in Texas:

    Archery is a fine hobby.

  15. Semper Gumby says:

    All fifty states and DC have laws on the books establishing and regulating State Defense Forces. In some states SDFs are inactive or otherwise non-existent. A SDF is not the National Guard. If the National Guard is federalized, the SDF is meant as an option for the Governor. Membership in the SDF is unlikely an exemption from the national draft. Membership in a local Reserve or Guard unit is likely disqualification for membership in the SDF. Some SDFs also have an air and naval component. SDFs may require a chaplain or chaplains.

    State Defense Forces vary widely in quality, some appear to be for showboating, some have performed well during natural disasters. The New York Times a decade or so ago ran an article on the New York SDF which had an unusual amount of “generals.” However, the New York SDF has a small team of skilled CBRNE personnel that have augmented the New York National Guard on occasion.

    SDF Tennessee is one of the more capable SDFs. It prefers honorably discharged veterans and civilians on a case-by-case basis. It is part of the Tennessee Military Department and SDF members have access to Professional Military Education (PME). Applicants must be a Tennessee resident, or, resident in any state bordering Tennessee. The Tennessee SDF has a strength of about 500.

    A sidenote. During the early days of WW II the U.S. Army used the “cadre system” to great increase the number of infantry and armored divisions (each division had 10-12,000 soldiers). For example, an active-duty infantry division in 1940 would detach a “cross-section” of 500 soldiers (sometimes a thousand) to form the nucleus of a new division. The cross-section was not simply a randomly selected battalion. It was a selection of infantry, artillery, staff, logistics and medical officers that would be the experienced nucleus receiving thousands of new recruits.

    Georgia has a Department of Defense with at least four hundred state employees. The three components of the Georgia DoD are: the Georgia Air National Guard units, the Georgia Army National Guard, and the SDF.

    The Maryland SDF has a small team of cyberwar personnel that work alongside a team from the Maryland National Guard for the Maryland Department of IT.

    The Texas SDF has a maritime regiment.

    The California National Guard in 2019 had a female general with a medical and helicopter pilot background assigned to command a California National Guard infantry division. However, the California SDF has a skilled weapons training team which has trained California National Guard units prior to Federal deployment.

    Numerous State Attorneys General have informed the DoD (Pentagon) that their SDFs are lawful combatants. The precise legal wording can vary by state and can result in different interpretations of relevant portions of US Code. Efforts to improve the SDFs have been made by the Reagan administration and after 9/11.

    For a 76-page PDF from 2014 see: “Evaluation of DoD Interaction with State Defense Forces DODIG 2014 065.”

  16. Semper Gumby says:

    “Invite your priest for some skeet shooting” and “SDFs may require a chaplain or chaplains” means faithful and patriotic (see Fulton Sheen and Jeremiah 29:7) priests, preachers and rabbis (some of the former and many of the latter two have grasped the idea given events of the last few years).

    “It’s a schtick up! NJ rabbi designs concealed-carry coat for Shabbat”

  17. Semper Gumby says:

    Conversation starters:

    Preparing your church congregation

    Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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