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Another Catholic Question

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Recently I attended a funeral mass where it was specified that everyone was welcome to come up for Communion, and that those who were not able to receive Communion should cross their arms on their chest and instead receive a blessing from the priest.  I had heard of this before, but never done it, as I was not sure how widespread of a practice it is and didn't want to cause an awkward situation.  I'm not religious, but I appreciate the intent of a blessing and it is certainly less awkward than sticking out like a sore thumb as everyone else goes up for Communion.  Is this something that's generally done, or would I be better off staying put if it's not mentioned?


post #2 of 6

It's quite common, I wouldn't worry about sticking out.  Even if nobody else knows what you're doing, the celebrant will!

post #3 of 6

it's done regularly at our church. My family is Catholic and our kids who are too young to receive Communion simply cross their arms and the celebrant/person handing out Communion knows what to do and not to give them the wafer.


I recently went to a mixed Catholic/non-catholic wedding, and some of the non-catholics opted not to get in the Communion line at all. I think it's a personal choice - don't feel pressured to get in the line, but if you want to, the actions specified above are totally appropriate.

post #4 of 6




I had it recommended to me, but apparently the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments disagree with the practice. 


I think there is a difference between bringing children that are too young to wait alone in the pews with you and adults presenting themselves. 




Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments acknowledges receipt of your kind letter of 13 August, 2008 and would like to thank you for your interest and suggestions. This matter is presently under the attentive study of the Congregation.

For the present, therefore, this Dicastery wishes to limit itself to the following observations:
  1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.
  2. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de MysterioNotitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; can. 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).
  3. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands -- which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here -- by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.
  4. The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, n. 84, "forbids any pastor, for whatever reason to pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry." To be feared is that any form of blessing in substitution for communion would give the impression that the divorced and remarried have been returned, in some sense, to the status of Catholics in good standing.
  5. In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church's discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing. This would include non-Catholics and those envisaged in can. 915 (i.e., those under the penalty of excommunication or interdict, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin).


post #5 of 6

What she said.


Everyone recieves a blessing at the end of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.


Also- Communion is for those Catholics in a state of Grace (ie: have attended Confession and are free of sin) who are receiving.  Those not recieving should not approach and should instead pray from their seats- praying a Spiritual Communion or just a prayer of Thanksgiving.



post #6 of 6

Thats the general understanding in the Orthodox church as well.  You can approach for a blessing but really only those prepared to receive should go forward unless they have some other reason to approach. Often times there are children who may not receive but go forward with their family or parents who may not receive but need to take a small child forward (we commune from infancy)....once you are there the blessing is given but really the only people who go up have another reason to.  Everyone else remains in their place praying  until after the service where we all go forward to receive a blessing.

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