Q. 1. When a priest, a Bishop or the Pope blesses the people, this blessing being transmitted worldwide electronically, does that blessing only apply to those present? Or does it also apply to those who are watching the televised program, those who are watching a large screen in a Church hall when there is an overflow at the Holy Mass, on the internet, on the radio or by DVD replay?
A. 1. That is a very good question. The blessing of a priest, Bishop or the Pope, is valid via electronic broadcasting when a priest is doing the blessing at the present moment. For example, if you are watching a live program of the Pope blessing the people, then you may include yourself among those who are receiving the blessing.
The same applies if it is on the internet or on the radio.
In Churches where it is impossible to sit all the faithful who wish to attend the Catholic Mass, the overflow is often directed to the attached hall or the school where the Holy Mass is broadcasted on a large screen. This is no different than pilgrims who are outside a famous Cathedral because there is no more seating or standing capacity inside the Church. In such a case, not only is the blessing valid, but also the participation at the Holy Mass. This is because the faithful is present in the faith community and he is participating in the liturgy.
In the case where a Papal program is being broadcasted later during the day, or you are playing a VHS or DVD of a service that was recorded in the past, such a blessing is not valid because there is no priest giving a blessing at that exact moment.
The rule to follow is, if it is happening right now and it is being broadcasted, it is valid. You qualify to receive the blessing. If it happened in the past and you are watching a replay of the service, the blessing is not valid at the present time.