From a reader:
Recently, I went to my parish office to make an offering for a Mass to be said for the young daughter of a friend of mine that is recovering from …. The receptionist informed me that the pastor couldn’t allow Masses to be said for the living because it’s not allowed in Canon Law. [Noooo….] I left the office scratching my head for several reasons.
One, the pastor is someone I consider to be very solid and orthodox. [I wouldn’t be so quick to blame this on the pastor.] Second, I know I’ve been to Masses where the priest will say, “This Mass is being offered for the parishioners of so and so parish.” Well they’re living. Does Canon law prohibit Mass being said for someone living? If not, could you provide me a reference that I could take back to the parish. Like I said, this pastor is a very good man who I know wants to do the right thing.
There must be some miscommunication or misunderstanding. That is just ridiculous.
You yourself point to the obligation that the pastor has to say Mass pro populo on Sundays and great feasts.
Furthermore, priests for centuries, and some still now, before saying Mass would recite this (my emphasis):
I intend to celebrate Mass and to confect the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the rite of Holy Roman Church, to the praise of Almighty God and all triumphant (heavenly) church/assembly, for my advantage and the good of all militant (earthly) church/assembly, and for all who have commended themselves to my prayers, in general and in particular, and for the felicitous state of the Holy Roman Church.
MAY Almighty and merciful Lord grant us joy with peace, amendment of life, a period for true penitence, the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit and perseverance in good works. Amen.
Yes, Mass intentions with stipends can and ought to be accepted for the living as well as for the dead. If the parish secretary is mistaken in this, she should be instructed by the pastor. If the pastor is mistaken about this, I would bring this to the attention of your local bishop. If that does not bear fruit, then you can write to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. They may want to know if the pastor has made this determination because of some error in doctrine. If that is the case, then the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would get involved.
But… it won’t have to go that far.
Yes, Mass intentions with stipends may be accepted also for the living.
Very many of the intentions I receive are for the living, as a matter of fact.