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.
According to Father Patrick Morrisroe, dean and professor of liturgy at Maynooth, the efficacy of benedictions is fourfold: (1) the excitation of pious emotions and affections of the heart, and by their means the remission of venial sins and of the temporal punishments due for these; (2) freedom from the power of evil spirits; (3) preservation and restoration of bodily health; (4) various other benefits, temporal and spiritual.
Benedictions, moreover, are twofold: (a) invocative, i.e.
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