At various times and in many different ways, priests bless things.
Most notably, at the end of a liturgy, the priest blesses the whole congregation -- pretty much no matter who is out there in the pews or what these people may or may not have done. Priests have been known to entire bless crowds at other public events.
It's a blessing. Priests give out lots of them. So does the pope, come to think of it..
Most importantly, it's not the moment at the end of Confession when, after hearing the penitent confess his or her sins, the priest extends his hand over the person's head and says:
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.
The penitent answers: Amen.
This brings us to yet another one of those moments when Pope Francis takes an action that shocks people in the mainstream media, even though it is not all that shocking to people who are active in the Catholic Church.
Wait, is The Daily Beast mainstream media? Well, this particular story is pretty straightforward news, so let's go for it since it has the key information in one chunk. We'll jump in at the summary material:
The latest in a long list of dust-ups came this week when Francis apparently gave his blessing to Francesca Pardi, a children’s book author who happens to be lesbian and who has a title on the list of banned books in the Venice school district that has sparked a feud between Venice mayor Luigi Bugnaro and the likes of Elton John.