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I feel a bit stupid now...

(31 Posts)
Chica31 Sat 26-Jan-13 20:18:13

I am feeling really silly now, I don't understand the catholic church at all, there seem to be so many rules.

I grew up C of E and my family were always a big part of the church. Nearly 8 years ago we moved to Spain. Especially after the birth of my daughters I have really missed not being part of a church so I thought I would try the catholic church in our village. Of course is it soooo different, the words of the mass seem very similar but every thing else is not at all. I have only been for 2 weeks but nobody has spoken to me. I took DD who is 3 to the mass today as she wanted to come, of course she didn't understand why I didn't go up to the rail to take communion. She has always seen me go up in the UK of course. So I thought, well I will take her up for a blessing. Of course, the priest looked at me as if I had 2 heads! I now realise why after doing research on the internet when I got home.

I don't know, I just feel silly and a bit fed up, I really liked the mass, it just doesn't feel very welcoming. A bit shut up and I am the outsider. I just know in the UK I would have seen a new person and gone to talk to them straight away, and now this.

What do you think I should do?

BlissfullyIgnorant Sat 26-Jan-13 20:24:07

What IS the reason the priest looked at you like you have 2 heads?
Just intrigued.

Chica31 Sat 26-Jan-13 20:26:50

It seems it is against church law?

Tobagostreet Sat 26-Jan-13 20:31:01

Not sure why you'd be made to feel uncomfortable when going up for a blessing. Did you cross your arms across your chest to indicate you only wanted a blessing? (that's what you do in the UK, so I assume Spain is the same?).

You should be made to feel welcome. Maybe no one realised that you were new? That's a real shame you didn't have a nice 1st experience hmm.

Have you thought about going to speak to one of the parish team? If not the priest, then one of the nuns or pass keepers.

Tobagostreet Sat 26-Jan-13 20:32:32

Can't click on that link, but anyone can go up for a blessing, just can't take communion.

Chica31 Sat 26-Jan-13 20:39:09

yes I did cross my arms.

Hope the link works now...

Tobagostreet Sat 26-Jan-13 20:49:00

Sorry - still can't open the link (on my iPad and some websites just don't work well with Safari). hmm

I know at my parish and others I've visited, all visitors are actively encouraged to come forward for a blessing (happens a lot at baptisms, communions, etc.).

It's a real shame you didn't feel very welcomed, as that's not really in the spirit of the faith sad.

If you are still interested in attending, why not speak to the priest, or if put off going back there completely, you could try another parish, and speak to them in advance?


Chica31 Sat 26-Jan-13 22:33:24

I am just going to put it down to experience and try a few more times I think.

Thanks for your support.

Chica31 Sat 26-Jan-13 22:37:43

This is what the website and some others said. Maybe in UK a bit more liberal??? Or have I stumble upon normal internet miss information?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. I noticed during the distribution of the Holy Eucharist that some people present themselves with one's hands being crossed, such leading to the priest or the Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist giving them a blessing. What are the Church rules regarding getting a blessing from the priest or the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist during Communion? Is this blessing for babies, children who have not yet made their First Communion, those in mortal sin, those whose's marriage is not recognized by the Catholic Church and/or for non-Catholics?

A. 1. The blessing that is given to non-communicants (those not receiving Holy Communion) during Holy Mass does not have its origin in the approved Liturgy of the Catholic Church. The practice of giving blessings in lieu of Communion was popularized by the priest who started Life Teen. This practice was then exported all over the U.S. and overseas and has infected many Catholic Churches.


The practice of blessing individuals during Holy Communion should be, not only discouraged, but discontinued. (This includes the practice of laying on of a hand or hands, which has its own sacramental significance, such being inappropriate here, as a substitute to giving Holy Communion.) Church Law states, "Therefore no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." Vatican II, General Norms [for the liturgy], A. 22(3).

# 1124 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "The Church's faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles, whence the ancient saying lex orandi, lex credendi... The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition.

# 1125 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "For this reason no sacramental rite may be modified or manipulated at the will of the minister or the community. Even the supreme authority of the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy"

Church law (reiterated in Redemptionis Sacramentum) states that the liturgy is to be celebrated as directed by the Church. Nothing may be added or subtracted. The silence of the Church on any matter is not to be construed as license to do it.


If anyone presents himself in the Communion line with crossed arms indicating that they want a blessing instead of Communion, the priest or the Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister can say, "May Jesus be in your heart." There should be no gestures and no blessing given. Hopefully this will diminish the number of persons who are expecting a blessing in lieu of Communion.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 27-Jan-13 16:58:25

So many rules. And there was me thinking the church was supposed to be welcoming and inclusive. Sounds like more of a secret club or cult to me.

Gingerdodger Sun 27-Jan-13 18:37:12

In our parish and every other RC church I have been in non Catholics have been welcomed up for a blessing (indicated by crossing arms across the chest). I have never heard of this being discouraged.

Maybe it is different in Spain. I think I once read somewhere that the same crossing of arms across the chest indicates that the person wishes to receive communion in their mouth rather than the hand.

Why not go and speak to the priest? I am sure they would welcome you and maybe they could team you up with a 'tame' parish member who could help. If not try another parish.

Glad you enjoyed the mass and hope it doesn't put you off.

Chica31 Sun 27-Jan-13 19:03:24

I did try to talk to the priest the other week. He did seem friendlyish but wanted to get away. He told me to keep coming to mass every week and he would take it from there. I am going to try the Sunday morning mass next week and see if it is different. I went on Saturday evening as everyone told me that was the more popular mass, but no one seems very friendly.

Luckyluckyme Sun 27-Jan-13 19:10:27

I have never seen anyone getting a blessing in this way in any Catholic mass I have been to in Ireland.

You either take Communion or you sit in your seat. There is a blessing at the end of mass for everyone.

Maybe the preist honestly didn't know what you wanted.

pinkpaperpiggy Sun 27-Jan-13 19:12:58

I'm Irish too lucky and have never seen or heard of a blessing done that way during Communion.

Gingerdodger Sun 27-Jan-13 19:13:19

Could you ask him directly about the blessings, perhaps explaining that this is something that you know happens in the UK and is there anything like it in his church? Might help you stop feeling awkward and not knowing what to do.

DieWilde13 Sun 27-Jan-13 19:19:59

I have never heard of this blessing instead of Communion in church, either. I am from Germany.

I also have to say that if a stranger attended mass in Germany it would be very unlikely for people to approach this stranger. I would contact the church office and ask if there are any groups or get togethers outside of mass that you could join?

Luckyluckyme Sun 27-Jan-13 19:25:25

I remember going to mass in he UK for the first time. It was very different from what I was used to.

I'm sure if you go a few times and just sit back and follow what everyone else is doing you'll be fine smile

Chica31 Sun 27-Jan-13 20:04:33

Thanks so much for your support everyone, I think I do need to talk to someone in the church office. I think there is a cultural difference as well as a new church.

Do catholic churches in other countries in Europe have prayer books to follow the service? I am used to them being given out at the door and being welcomed into church.

Every one else knew the words! I could follow the service fine as it had the same pattern as the c of e, but of course I have no idea of all the words in Spanish. Alot of course doesn't literally translate.

I guess I need to find someone, anyone to ask in the church

Tuo Sun 27-Jan-13 20:14:35

I hope you can work something out Chica.

IME what you did would have been totally the norm in the US. We spent 6 months there and my dds attended a Catholic school, although we are CofE. During school masses (of which there were a lot... 3 times a week plus extra on special days!) they went up for a blessing with their arms crossed just as you did. They asked what they should do, and were told that they could stay in their seats, or they could go up with everyone else for a blessing.

I know that Spain is predominantly Catholic, but is it worth finding out if there's a Protestant church near you that you could get to?

Chica31 Sun 27-Jan-13 20:22:38

Thanks, I have had a good look round but I can't find any. Only Evangelical or 7th day adventists that I can find. It does seem strange as we live only 20 mins away from Valencia, a huge city!

DieWilde13 Sun 27-Jan-13 20:25:16

Not sure what a prayer book is, in Germany we have a hymn book.
You usually bring your own, but there might be a box or shelf somewhere where you can borrow one.
Definitely no handing out of anything.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sun 27-Jan-13 20:28:32

I'm English. My priest is one of the most unwelcoming people you are ever likely to come across and he encourages people to come up for blessings. I had no idea it was discouraged elsewhere. We used to get blessings as kids before we took 1st communion.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sun 27-Jan-13 20:31:10

We have 'mass cards' in the pews but thats only since it was all changed. Before that you were just expected to know it. My friends church (same diocese) had the same mass cards but her mad priest removed them after 2 weeks based on 'if people came to mass every week they would know the changes by now'

Tuo Sun 27-Jan-13 20:37:40

According to Google, you want the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. There is a church in Valencia which has a priest-in-charge who has an English-sounding name. Worth getting in touch?

Housemum Sun 27-Jan-13 20:59:21

I did the RCIA course a couple of years ago (the "becoming a Catholic" course) in the UK - our priest said that receiving a blessing is v normal in the UK, but other countries are more resistant or may not even recognise it - I now see why!

Don't know about Spain but in the UK the standard Mass book is a missal - which will usually have the order of Mass, and then sections with the relevant readings for each week of the year (I have a Sunday Missal) on a rolling 3 year cycle. A bit like what used to be called the Alternative Service book in the C of E (I'm going back about 20 years now) - most people have their own, although our parish has just bought a set of Mass books to give out each service which fulfil the same role, but just a different book for each year of the cycle

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