Masses for Non-Catholic Officials
ROME, MARCH 8, 2007 (Zenit) - Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.
Q: I recently read in our parish bulletin that a Mass was being offered for the "Intentions of ---" (name omitted here, but published in the bulletin), a person who is still alive and who holds a high-profile public office. The individual is Christian but not Catholic and has signed laws or has taken positions which support abortion rights, embryonic stem-cell research and same-sex unions. May a Mass be offered by a priest, publicly, for the intentions of a living non-Catholic (or one whose "intentions" oppose our Church teaching?) If so, should it be? We certainly should be praying for this person's conversion -- of both their faith and their positions -- but I think offering a Mass for their intentions could lead the faithful to further confusion, and possibly may be scandalous. -- M.B., Brookfield, Connecticut
A: I think that some distinctions might be in order. Parish bulletins are not graced with magisterial authority, much less with infallibility, but all the same they should strive to be precise in their terminology. In this sense, Mass may be offered for public officials but not necessarily for their intentions.
As our reader points out, a public official's intentions may be contrary to Church teaching, and he or she might even intend to persecute the Church to some degree or other.
Catholics cannot therefore offer blanket prayers for the intentions of such officials in the same way that we can pray for the intentions of the Pope or bishop.
At the same time, the Church has always encouraged praying for public officials even through they might not be Christians and even when they persecute the Church. St. Peter tells the first Christians to honor the emperor (1 Peter 2:17) in virtue of his authority -- but not because of his moral qualities, which in the case of Nero were singularly lacking.
In later epochs there were specific prayers during the Mass for the emperor and even specific votive Mass formulas "for the King." In some eighth- and ninth-century monasteries it was a custom to pray a daily Mass for the king and kingdom.
Today's missal contains Masses for the nation, state and city, for public officials, for Congress and for a country's king or principal governing authority.
The formulas for such Masses usually plead for the monarch or ruler's health and welfare as well as the gifts of wisdom, justice and prudence so that the common good may be served.
Similar petitions are made on other occasions such as the intercessions on Good Friday, and may be included in the prayer of the faithful at all Masses. They are also frequent in the intercessions of morning prayer and evening prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours.
This form of prayer reflects more our intentions for the ruler and not so much the ruler's intentions. This form of prayer may be offered no matter what the religious faith and personal and public moral stature of the people we pray for may be.
Of course, as we believe in the power of prayer, we do trust that God will assist the ruler in making wise, just and coherent decisions, and also to become a better person.
From another point of view, a ruler of any faith could ask his people to pray for a pressing public need, and in this sense Catholics could pray for his intentions.
Likewise a Catholic ruler, as may any Catholic, can request that a Mass be celebrated for his or her private intentions. In this case, just like any prayer, God will only respond to a sincere and humble heart.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Mass, Liturgy, Officials, McNamara, Non-Catholics
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Ron Howard and Henry Winkler mourn the loss of 'Happy Days' costar ...
- Michigan doctors charged in America's first genital mutilation case - ...
- All The Earth Will Sing Your Praises
- Daily Readings for Monday, April 24, 2017
- Day 2 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD Video
- Day 3 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD Video
- St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen: Saint of the Day for Monday, April 24, 2017
- Day 1 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, April 24th, 2017 HD
- Intro to the Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.