Q: I have been asked to bless a bell by a parishioner. It’s not a church bell, just a regular dinner bell, and they prefer it to be done in Latin from the Rituale Romanum. As I was looking through my Rituale Romanum and at this specific blessing, it states I need delegation from an Ordinary. Given the changes with Vatican II, etc., do I still need to seek this permission?
A: As far as I can tell, you may bless the bell as they request without special permission. The Rituale Romanum, Titulus IX, Caput IX, includes at 12 a Benedictio campanæ quæ tamen ad usum ecclesiæ ver oratorii non inserviat. It just refers to an “Officians”, not to a bishop.
In general priests preside for the rites in the Ritual, and bishops preside for rites in the Pontifical, which used to include an elaborate blessing of a church bell. That has been simplified and moved into the Book of Blessings (chapter 37). It prefers a bishop to celebrate, but permits a priest. I don’t see a comparable blessing of a bell for non-church use in the Book of Blessings.