Children in the womb will now be able to receive a special blessing from their parish priests following an overwhelming vote by the U.S. bishops in favor of the new blessing.
"The Blessing of a Child in the Womb" has been in the works for two years, but Bishop Michael Saltarelli noted at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that, “happily it’s come to fruition at this time when I think it’s important to reaffirm and focus our attention on the life of the unborn.” The bishop’s remarks were apparently made in reference to the recent election results and Cardinal George’s remarks on not giving any ground to those who insist that Catholics set their beliefs aside in public dialogue.
The prayer for the child in the womb was approved for use in the dioceses of the United States with a 223-1 vote this afternoon at the bishops’ General Assembly in Baltimore. The bishops also approved a Spanish version of the blessing with a 224-0 vote.
The Blessing of a Child in the Womb was prepared by the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities after receiving requests from dioceses for such a blessing and not finding an existing blessing for a newly conceived child.
The new blessing, which can take place either during Mass or outside of it, still requires the approval of the Congregation on Divine Worship and the Sacraments in Rome before it can be used in the dioceses of the United States of America. Upon approval by Rome, the new prayer will be published in any new editions of The Book of Blessings.