Friday, 6 May 2011

Can a priest say: "I don't do Benediction?"

I know, of course, that many priests say: "I can't do a Latin Mass" which always strikes me as rather feeble; like a tennis player stating that he can't do drop shots or a golfer stating that he only plays on a nine hole course.

"I told you - I don't do drop shots"
But Benediction! Isn't that one of the most perfect ways in which we can adore our God? Why is it not made available more freely? Is it because there is an element of Latin to it? Is it a tad too triumphalist?.....too devote perhaps? or, is it that it recognises transubstantiation in a way that troubles some priests. I hope that I am wrong but it is puzzling that this most beautiful of services is rarely found.
A quick survey of Menevia Diocese shows that, out of 37* or so parish churches, only 7 offer Benediction (and then, in some instances it's only once a month). Pretty shocking by any standard.
*Based on parish website information.
Quite a few do feature Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament but for some obscure reason, that seems to take place at 9.30am on Wednesday mornings. I bet there's a full  house for that!

Procession and Benediction
- is it a bit too holy?
Benediction offers such great opportunities to involve the whole parish.
In May there's potential for the Processions in honour of Our Lady, where the Blessed Sacrament is taken on a tour of the surrounding streets preceeded by young girls with baskets of petals to strew in the path of Our Lord. What imagery it conjures up and what reverence and belief it instils.
All of the parish groups play a part, the KSC, SVP, Legion of Mary and so on; it offers them a chance to recruit new members also.
And then there is Corpus Christi - a chance to take Our Lord even further afield (if anyone has the courage these days).
Of course, the prime purpose is the adoration and worship of Almighty God but Benediction also has so many graces and benefits for those who attend.

I am sure it must appear as if this blog is all about complaints, and that is largely true. I wish it were not so, but the laity in England and Wales are really being given short shrift when it comes to receiving the richness and fullness of our Faith.
Of course, when a priest or Bishop says that there is no demand for it you know what to do don't you?


  1. We are vey blessed in my parish.Thursdays
    8.20 pm until 9.00pm weekly. 8.20 pm until 10.00 pm on the first Thursday of the month.Fridays 10.00am until 12.30pm. Sundays
    6.30pm after Vespers short Exposition and Benediction. Adoration and Benediction for pro life 2nd Saturday of each month.10.00am until 12 noon. Exposition all day on New Year's Day. Holy Mass and Blessed Sacrament Procession at 2.30 on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.40 hours Exposition each year, beginning at 7.00 am on 1st July 2011 and concluding on 2nd July at 11.00 pm 2011. Adoration and Benediction also form part of our First Holy Communion and Confirmation programmes, for both children/teenager and parents' sessions. First Holy Communion children form part of the procession for Corpus Christi. It can be done, but I would not say it is the norm in our diocese!!

  2. No There is no benediction at all here on a Sunday in any parish. The redemptorist do it to a milder degree at 7pm here in my town but they are the only ones who at least give it a go even if its really short sometimes.

    Its not about it being in ''demand''. Our Lord is not a sales product who is not in demand anymore so why should we display him? type of thing. He is God and the priest should do it every Sunday for the Sake of Christ and the people. Nobody there? then do it anyway. I think The Church is suffering from it as a whole. I sometimes dont watch EWTN because it shows me the dream Church I wish I was attending but cant have. *sigh* lol. If only EWTN were a reality in my town.....

    Pax Christi

  3. A rare event here I am afraid,just another loss!

  4. "In May there's potential for the Processions in honour of Our Lady, where the Blessed Sacrament is taken on a tour of the surrounding streets preceeded by young girls with baskets of petals to strew in the path of Our Lord"

    You appear to be confusing May processions with Corpus Christi processions - both of which were features of my youth- as was a regular Sunday evening Benediction. In the former it was the statue of Our Lady that was the focus - with a coronation at the outdoor "Grotto", while at the latter, generally on the Sunday after Corpus Christi, the procession was of the Blessed Sacrament- with little girls laying rose petals before- and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at two or three outdoor shrines.
    One other point: in my experience the clergy were not wholly to blame for the relative demise of Benediction. During the sixties Catholic laity became increasingly beguiled by television. I do not know why since "Songs of Praise" was as dire then as it is now!

  5. God eventually brings us all, to our knees and ultimately, our bodies become prostrated. I notice my own rosary is becoming prostrated, more often than not. We must continually pray for our priests and bishops. Prayer, is activated faith. Life is hard, it was hard for Jesus. If we claim, we have decided to follow Him, why should we expect less? This, is a battle. Sorry, life a bit tough at the moment, so this comment has gone off, on one.Just to sign off, on a positive note...remember, where sin abounds, how much more, does grace.

  6. We are very blessed in our parish to have benidiction every week. I asked our priest why we don't do more processions and he said he is not allowed because the bishop regulates them! Crazy! I had no idea.

  7. Couldn't agree more, in principle. One of the reasons put to me - to justify moving Corpus Christi to Sunday - was the possibility of celebrating the feast with processions and and Vespers with benediction. Obviously, this does not occur, and not only have we lost Corpus Christi, but the Sunday version of the feast is celebrated...just like all the other Sundays of the year. Our previous PP had adoration following Mass finished off with Benediction and evening prayer (hooray something happening in church at a time someone working can go too!) once a month. It was great. But that priest was moved on and our new priest doesn't have the time (due to legal duties!) or, I suspect, the inclination even if he did, alas.


  8. Our Parish does weekly benediction. Our priest has a real love for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It is a real tonic to witness his devout nature. At Easter he sang in Latin during the processional. I just wish everything could be as it was!

  9. Unfortunately I think you are correct, Richard .

    My feeling is that there has been a relatively continuous "dumbing down" over many years, supported by the potential embarrassment about low numbers of people attending and a perception that diocesan priests are being advised to spend less of their time in devotions, and not be so ready to offer their valuable time to others.

    I think there would be time for priests to engage in valuable devotions such as Benediction, Rosary etc. if there were not so much demand for them to attend to matters that could be quite happily handled by lay people, such as managing hall bookings, dealing with the parish accounts, attending unnecessary meetings etc.

    Let Priests do what they have been ordained specifically to do, the Mass, Sacraments and visiting, and let lay people assist them in doing what lay people do well and properly.

    I am sure this is intrinsic to the argument.

    Let us not clericalize the laity and let us not laicize the clergy!!

  10. Patricius - I am much more prone to confusion these days! I am sure you are correct but I do know that we processed with the Queen of the May and her pages and escorts every May in honour of Our Lady. Flowers were in evidence but you are surely correct about Corpus Christi and the petals, thank you.