Tuesday, February 4, 2014

EMHC Rant: I will not get a blessing from an EMHC!

I had my throat blessed yesterday.

But a priest did it, not an EMHC.

I lined up for the blessing and the line was looonnngg for the priest.  Can you blame us who lined up for him?

There were some who lined up for the EMHCs.

An old lady acting as usher was telling us to cut the line and proceed instead to the EMHC.

I stood my ground.  When only a handful people went to the EMHC, the old lady approached me and asked me to go to the EMHC.  I gruffly answered here whispering "My dear, hindi pari yan.  Bakit ako magpapa-bless sa isang hindi pari?"  I never knew that my "whisper" was heard the people around me until I heard someone said behind me "Oo nga naman."

I guess I did a good job, no?  Only a few went to the EMHC and the line to the priest was still long.  Poor priest.  He was tired after, but hey!  That is what they were ordained to do right?

The Book of Blessings (#1626) states: "The blessing of throats may be given by a priest, deacon, or lay minister who follows thte rites and prayers designated for a lay minister..


Let me make it clear.

A priest is a priest is a priest.

And a deacon is a deacon is a deacon.

A blessing of the ordained makes the one being blessed become a sacramental.

A blessing of the baptized and confirmed Catholic does not make the one he blessed a sacramental.  There is a difference between constitutive and invocative blessings.

Let me quote from Fr. William Saunders who wrote about this in EWTN.

Blessings are categorized into two types: invocative and constitutive.
In an invocative blessing, the minister implores the divine favor of God to grant some spiritual or temporal good without any change of condition, such as when a parent blessed a child. This blessing is also a recognition of God's goodness in bestowing this "blessing" upon us, such as when we offer a blessing for our food at meal time. In blessing objects or places, a view is also taken toward those who will use the objects or visit the places.

A constitutive blessing, invoked by a bishop, priest or deacon, signifies the permanent sanctification and dedication of a person or thing for some sacred purpose. Here the person or object takes on a sacred character and would not be returned to non-sacred or profane use. For example, when religious Sisters or Brothers profess final vows, they are blessed, indicating a permanent change in their lives. Or, when a chalice is blessed, it becomes a sacred vessel dedicated solely to sacred usage.

Now let's look at the prayer used for the blessing of throats:
Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr,
may God free you from illness of the throat and from any other sort of ill.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.
Invocative or constitutive?

I'd say it is constitutive.


You shouldn't be.

The prayer does not impart a supernatural character upon the person being blessed.


Let us see what Fr. Z said in his blog post:
"This may shock you, but I am against lay people giving the St. Blaise blessing… “blessing”, when they give it, that is.  The ghastly Book of Blessings has a form for lay people doing this, so the Church permits it.  That doesn’t mean I have to like it.  What the ordained do when they bless and what lay people do when they “bless” are different.  There.  I’ve said it.  I am sure you are shocked."

I share his opinion.

Why?  The blessing is done within the Mass. 

Blessed Ashes are given here in the Philippines after Mass, isn't it?  And EMHCs help in distributing the ash.  Again, men who are designated to distribute Holy Communion?

Are they becoming pseudo-deacons?  All they need is an ordination and their own crossed stoles and dalmatic and poof!  You have deacons!  They almost act as if they are married ordained deacons!

If the Church sees it fit that any lay person can give the blessing of throats on St. Blaise's day, then why would I line up and have it done by an EMHC whose only permission is to distribute Holy Communion, and done within the Mass?

Why EMHCs?  They were permitted to distribute Holy Communion ONLY?


  1. Very good point! While a EMHC can distribute a validly consecrated host, he cannot transmit a blessing because he was never ordained.

    Methinks it is about time our bishops contemplate on ordaining married men to the diaconate. This will be of great help to our priests especially in preaching the homilies, weddings, funerals, simple ritual blessings...

    Beside, it is ONLY a deacon other than the bishops and priests who is allowed to touched the sacred species, NOT A LAY PERSON.