Benediction [Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament](from Lat. benedictio: ‘blessing’)
[Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament](from Lat. benedictio: ‘blessing’)
In the Roman rite, a ceremony comprising the exposition and veneration of the Sacred Host, the singing of hymns and a blessing of the faithful with the Host. It is not part of the Mass in the strict sense. Benediction probably developed from the new devotion to the Sacrament that appeared in the Latin West from the 12th century, reflected in innovations such as the Elevation within Mass and the processions carrying the Sacrament on the feast of Corpus Christi (instituted 1264). Hildebrand, Benedictine abbot at Hildesheim, issued instructions in 1301 that the faithful were to be blessed with the Host at a station during the Corpus Christi procession while the choir sang the antiphon O admirabile commercium (Browe, 74, n.9, cited also in Righetti, 613); there is further evidence of Benediction in northern Europe in the 14th century, but not in Italy until much later.
Benediction developed as an evening devotion, not necessarily allied to Corpus Christi, and it was further emphasized as a counterblast to the Reformers’ denial of the doctrine of transubstantiation; nevertheless, the service was not recognized by the Roman Church as a true liturgical action until ...