First Priestly Blessing

It is commonly held that a priest can offer a "first blessing" for the entire first year as a new priest. Sometimes it is said that there is a plenary indulgence attached to receiving a blessing from a priest within the first year after his ordination to the priesthood. I have been looking for the origin and basis of this tradition, but haven't found much. Maybe one or another of my readers know something about this.

The two questions I have are: first, is the notion that there is something special attached to a priest's blessing within his first year of priesthood based on (1) a pious tradition, (2) some liturgical tradition, or (3) a determination made by some pope?

Second, what is that "something special" that is attached to the blessing of a new priest within the first year of ordination (if not an indulgence)?

5 thoughts on “First Priestly Blessing”

    1. This and other such articles seem to suggest that there is little to none basis in current law for a special privilege attached to the blessing of a new priest. But what is the origin of this notion that a special value (such as indulgence) belongs to the blessing of a priest within his first year as a new priest? Or can that no longer be traced down? is it a myth whose origin is already shrouded in history?

  1. Pope Paul VI granted newly ordained priests the privilege of giving the Papal Blessing with plenary indulgence, but only once:

    Novensilibus sacerdotibus facultas tribuitur impertiendi Benedictionem
    Ssmus D. N. Paulus Div. Prov. Pp. VI, preces Sibi oblatas in favorem
    novensilium sacerdotum libenti animo excipiens, ut paternam Suam
    sollicitudinem erga ipsos ostenderet, benigne statuere dignatus est ut
    quilibet novensilis sacerdos, cum primum Missam quadam sollemnitate
    celebraverit, impertiri valeat, unica vice, adhibita formula quae in Rituali
    Romano invenitur, ac extra Urbem, Benedictionem Papalem cum
    adnexa plenaria Indulgentia, acquirenda a christifidelibus, qui, sacramentali
    paenitentia expiati et sacra Communione refecti, eidem Missae
    sacrificio pia mente adstiterint, praefatam Benedictionem devote acceperint
    et ad Summi Pontificis mentem preces fuderint.
    Praesenti in perpetuum valituro, ab hac ipsa die et absque ulla Apostolicarum
    Litterarum in forma brevi expeditione.
    Contrariis quibuslibet minime obstantibus.
    Datum Romae, e S. Paenitentiaria Apostolica, die 5 Novembris 1964.
    F. Card. CENTO, Paenitentiarius Maior

    1. Thank you. I have seen that. I don't really see how that one-time blessing would have come to be considered valid a full year long, however, and also have the notion that the tradition of one-year is older, so am still interested in that question.

      Fr. Edward McNamara argues that the granting of the papal blessing is now governed by the Enchiridion of Indulgences, and thus that a new priest may no longer given this. The present Enchiridion does not attach an indulgence to the blessing of a new priest, but to celebration or attendance at his first public Mass.

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