Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Benediction
Benediction QUESTION from Daly May 10, 2001
What is the Church's ruling on Benediction? We had a parish priest who would have Benediction after mass once a month. He indicated that it wasn't strictly liturgical to do so. But he felt that people wouldn't make themselves available if he were to have Benediction at another time.
Since this priest's departure for another parish some years ago we have never had Benediction.
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on May 16, 2001
Dear Mr. Daly,
Did the priest give benediction at the end of Mass, before it had concluded, or after Mass? Both ways are not liturgical. If he gives benediction at the end of Mass, then he is adding to the Mass, which is prohibited by the Second Vatican Council, as quoted many times in this forum. If he concludes the Mass, then has benediction, then he is either ignoring or unaware of the following from Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass (n. 89, second paragraph)
Exposition merely for the purpose of giving benediction is prohibited. Eucharistic benediction is to be preceded by a suitable amount of time for adoration, songs, scripture readings, songs, and so on.
Years ago, it was common practice to have parishes full for Mass on Sunday morning, then again full in the afternoon for adoration, Vespers(evening prayer), and benediction. Vatican II highly recommends that the Liturgy of the Hours still be celebrated in parishes, especially on Sunday. Unfortunately, in recent decades, the practice of returning to church in the afternoon has been replaced by the practice of watching football in the home.
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