I recently saw a Roman Catholic priest bless the people
with the Book of the Gospels when it was handed to him by the
deacon after the Gospel. I thought that only a bishop should do
this. Is this correct?
According to a very strict interpretation of the General
Instruction of the Roman Missal that is currently in force, this
Roman Catholic priest was technically incorrect. This is a minor
issue over a little ceremony; but paragraph 175 of the revised
instruction does stipulate that only if the eucharistic president
is a bishop, after having received the Gospel Book from the deacon,
and reverenced it in the customary way, may he use it to bless the
congregation by making a sign of the cross.
It is very much to be hoped that at a future revision of its
ritual rules the RC Church will further modify the arrangement, so
that this gesture of blessing may be given by all priests.
It is noteworthy that, before 2002, this particular blessing at
the Ministry of the Word was restricted to the Roman pontiff at
papal masses. The more recent provision is a welcome sign that it
may be yet further extended. Fortunately, Anglican priests are at
perfect liberty to introduce this meaningful blessing.
(Canon) Terry Palmer
Many will have noticed what a high proportion of
Christmas cards arrived through the post with unfranked stamps. Is
it good stewardship, or theft, to re-use them?
The simple answer is that to re-use stamps that have been
unfranked is a criminal offence contrary to section 11 of the Fraud
(The Revd) Tim Barnard
Re-using stamps that have been through the mail system, franked
or not, is fraud, and is something Royal Mail looks out for. The
Royal Mail can and does bring prosecutions. How is deceiving a
vendor into providing a service that you are not entitled to,
because you have not paid for it, a fair trade?
Hedge End, Hampshire
How often should housebound communicants be visited by a
priest from their parish?
Address: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor,
Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.