|Fr Anthony McCarthy FSSP giving First Blessings (after Ordination) following Mass|
One reason why a number of people probably think I'm mad, is that I don't take my children (those who haven't had their First Holy Communion) to the altar rails for a blessing during Communion. The reason is that the blessing of children at this time is, ahem, not actually allowed. Not at the Traditional Mass. Not at the New Mass. No blessings should be given during the reception of Communion.
|Veneration of a relic of St Anthony of Padua, after Mass at St Anthony of Padua, Oxford|
Fr John Zuhlsdorf has written a few times on this topic; today he's linked to another discussion of it by another priest. What surprises me a little about his discussion, and that of the priest blogger (Fr Shea) to whom he links, is that the only reason they give against the practise is that it is contrary to the rubrics. I also think it would be a good idea to make the point that very few people seem to be aware of the liturgical law on this subject, and (unless I've missed it) it's not an issue which has been raised by the Instructions combating liturgical abuses which Pope John Paul II issued. So I'm not condemning anyone to Hell fire for not knowing about this.
|Distribution of blessed candles, Candlemas, SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford|
|Veneration of St Therese of Lisieux, Oxford Oratory|
|Distribution of blessed palms, Palm Sunday, St William of York, Reading|
Everyone is given a blessing at the end of Mass, and this blessing has a special significance in the context of the Mass, just concluded, and the dismissal of the Faithful. I make a particular effort to get my children to pay attention to this, and to cross themselves. I also encourage them to go up to get ashes on Ash Wednesday, a palm on Palm Sunday, to have the Blessing of Throats on the feast of St Blaise, to kiss relics whenever these are proffered for veneration, to receive the First Blessings of newly ordained priests, and so on, as illustrated in the photos; they are always pleased to take part in these things, and they provide very good opportunities for catechesis. Going up to Communion, however, is something which really makes no sense unless you are actually going up for Communion. In the context of children, of course, the NOT being allowed up has importance in their preparation for First Communion, when they WILL be allowed up. (What is annoying, of course, is a baby being given a blessing simply because you've gone up yourself for Communion and you are obliged to hold him.)
|Blessing of Throats on the Feast of St Blaise, SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford|