Blessing (Roman Catholic Church)

abiding quality of sacredness is conferred in virtue of which the persons or things blessed become inviolably sacred so that they cannot be divested of their religious character or be turned to profane uses. Again, theologians distinguish blessings of an intermediate sort, by which things are rendered special instruments of salvation without at the same time becoming irrevocably sacred, such as blessed salt, candles, etc. Blessings are not sacraments; they are not of Divine institution; they do not confer sanctifying grace; and they do not produce their effects in virtue of the rite itself, or ex opere operanto. They are sacramentals and, as such, they produce the following specific effects:

Excitation of pious emotions and affections of the heart and, by means of these, remission of venial sin and of the temporal punishment due to it. Freedom from power of evil spirits; Preservation and restoration of bodily health. Various other benefits, temporal or spiritual.

All these effects are not necessarily inherent in any one blessing; some are caused by one formula, and others by another, according to the intentions of the Church. Neither are these effects to be regarded as infallibly produced, except insofar as impetration of the Church has this attribute. The religious veneration, therefore, in which the faithful regard blessings has no faint of superstition, since it depends altogether on the Church’s suffrages offered to God that the persons using the things she blesses may derive from them certain supernatural advantages. Instances are alleged in the lives of the saints where miracles have been wrought by the blessings of holy men and women. There is no reason to limit the miraculous interference of God to the early ages of the Church’s history, and the Church never accepts these wonderful occurrences unless the evidence in support of their authenticity is absolutely unimpeachable.

Rite employed

Before a minister proceeds to impart any blessing he should first satisfy himself that it is one which he is duly qualified to give, either by his ordinary or delegated powers. He should next use the prescribed rite. As a rule, for the simple blessings of the Ritual, a soutane, surplice, and stole of the requisite colour will be sufficient. A clerk should be at hand to carry the Holy Water or incense if required, or to prepare a lighted candle. The blessings are ordinarily given in a church; but, if necessary, they can be lawfully administered elsewhere according to the exigencies of place or other circumstances or privileges, and without any sacred vestment.

T. Michael Claude is Editor-in-Chief of, an online Catholic Magazine dealing specifically with the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The site can be enjoyed by following this link:

T. Michael Claude is Editor-in-Chief of, an online Catholic Magazine dealing specifically with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The site can be enjoyed by following this link: