Should blessings be given to those unable to receive Holy Communion? is an interesting question; as an old Liberal, for me, in the Extraodinary Form there seems to be less of a problem than in the Ordinary Form. In the EF the priest makes the sign of the Cross over those who present themselves for Holy Communion with the Sacred Host saying, “May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep your soul to eternal Life”, if the communicant puts out their tongue he gives them Holy Communion.
In the Ordinary Form he holds up the Sacred Host and says, “Corpus Christi” and the communicant responds, “Amen” and either the priest places the Host on their tongue or in there hand. Introducing a blessing for non-communicants is a rite that is not part of the Liturgy and a rite introduced on the priest’s own initiative, which of course he is not supposed to.
Joe Shaw reproduces the extract of a letter from the CDW:
(Protocol No. 930/08/L) dated Nov. 22, 2008, sent in response to a private query and signed by Father Anthony Ward, SM, undersecretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
The letter said that “this matter is presently under the attentive study of the Congregation,” so “for the present, this dicastery wishes to limit itself to the following observations”:
“1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.
“2. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; Canon 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).
“3. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands — which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here — by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.
“4. The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio n. 84, ‘forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry’. To be feared is that any form of blessing in substitution for communion would give the impression that the divorced and remarried have been returned, in some sense, to the status of Catholics in good standing.
“5. In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church’s discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing. This would include non-Catholics and those envisaged in can. 915 (i.e., those under the penalty of excommunication or interdict, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin).”