As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why the expressive though silent message transmitted through certain gestures often deserves our attention just as much as certain declarations or documents do. This is all the more true in the case of the one who has the mission of representing Jesus Christ ex officio, as his Vicar on earth.
To better comprehend what the pictures accompanying this text ‘say,’ it may help to remember something of the doctrine of the Church regarding blessings.
According to the Catechism it is a sacramental: ‘Every blessing praises God and prays for his gifts’ (no. 1671). Some more solemn blessings are reserved for bishops; others correspond to priests and others to deacons, as ‘stewards of the mysteries of God’ (1Cor 4:1). The faithful also, in virtue of the common priesthood received through Baptism, may impart certain blessings just as parents, for example, have traditionally blessed their children.
Some ‘blessings’, however, are a cause of concern… Is a heretic’s blessing valid? Is it licit to request such a blessing? What is the meaning of such a gesture? The Magisterium, Fathers and Doctors of the Church aid us in these confusing times, responding with their characteristic precision.
Teachings of the Magisterium
Enter the various parts of our study
I – Is a heretic’s blessing valid?
II – Is it licit to request such blessings?