It is worn, too, on the vigils of fasts, Ember Days and days of intercession, on the Feast of Holy Innocents (if on a week-day), at litanies, penitential processions, and at other than solemn benedictions and consecrations.
Sacerdotal benedictions are not indeed sacraments - means of grace ordained by Christ himself, but sacramentals (sacramenta minora) ordained by the authority of the Church and exercised by the priests, as the plenipotentiaries of God, in virtue of the powers conferred on them at their ordination; "that whatever they bless may be blessed, and whatever they consecrate may be consecrated."
Though, however, the discomfiture of malignant spirits still plays an important part in the Catholic doctrine of benedictions, this has on the whole tended to become subordinated to other benefits.
Benedictions, moreover, are twofold: (a) invocative, i.e.
Though the giving of blessings as a sacerdotal function is proper to the whole order of priests, particular benedictions have, by ecclesiastical authority, been reserved for the bishops, who may, however, delegate some of them; i.e.