8 September 2002 (Melbourne, Australia) outlining three blessings today by Archbishop Hart which did not follow the liturgical books.
 

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Three incorrect blessings

Archbishop Hart had blessings at two Masses in Melbourne today. These blessings present challenges for those concerned about faithfully following the liturgical books.

To the best of my knowledge the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference does not have an approved translation of the 1984 book, De Benedictionibus, the Book of Blessings. I believe that without an approved translation these ceremonies should be done in Latin. The three blessings today were in English.

At the 11.00 am Mass at St Patrick's cathedral in Melbourne today there was a renewal of marriage vows. In the USA's Book of Blessings it has a blessing for married couples. There are general intercessions and a prayer of blessing.

But today's ceremony added the following which is not in the official liturgical book. Archbishop Hart invited the married couples to say the prayer in the booklet:

"Dear Lord, we thank you for the wonderful Sacrament of Marriage. In marriage, we have the opportunity to live the vocation you ordained for us, to experience the giving and receiving of the greatest gift of life, and to participate in the miracle of co-creation.

Lord, I thank you for my spouse. I thank you for every moment of married life we have already shared. I acknowledge the talents and gifts with which I have been blessed and also my faults and shortcomings. I thank you for the graces in the joys and sorrows that have been a part of our life together."

Husbands then said:

"Believing these things, I wish to renew my marriage vows to you my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, I will love you and honour you all the days of my life."

Then wives said:

"Believing these things, I wish to renew my marriage vows to you, my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honour you all the days of my life."

Then the Archbishop said the blessing, which is similar (but not exactly the same) to that for a wedding anniversay in the USA Book of Blessings (Liturgical Press, 1989, page 33).

The second blessing in that Mass was of a new image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The instructions in the Book of Blessings, n 1259 are:

"Whenever a new sacred image is first exposed for public veneration by the faithful, particularly in a church, there should be a solemn blessing by use of the special rite given here; but the rite is not to be celebrated within Mass."

But it was celebrated in the Mass. To quote the booklet:

"At the end of the intercessions, the Archbishop prays the Prayer of Blessing of the Icon. After the prayer, the Icon is incensed and sprinkled with Holy Water."

The third blessing was in an afternoon Mass, with the Maltese community in West Melbourne. The USA Book of Blessings has "Chapter 62: Order for the Blessing of Altar Servers, Sacristans, Musicians, and Ushers". This allows a blessing after the general intercessions. But instead Archbishop Hart had a blessing for the musicians after the Prayer After Communion.

For the morning Mass I was disappointed that Archbishop Hart sat for the Kyrie and Gloria. For the afternoon Mass he followed the liturgical books and stood for them.

I find it particularly sad that wonderful marriages, a beatiful icon and excellent musicians are marred by ceremonies that do not follow the liturgical books.

By J.R. Lilburne, 8 September 2002. I give what I have written on this page to the public domain.