From a reader…
Are we required to join in the prayers of the faithful at Mass?
Sometimes these can be excruciatingly political and occasionally downright wrong.
For instance, on the recent solemnity of Our Lady Help of Christians (I’m Australian and she is one of our national principal patrons), my wife and I attended Mass. During the prayers of the faithful, most were in keeping with the feast and had a Marian slant as you would expect, however one said (paraphrased, but not exaggerating) “We pray for Muslims, that we can come to value their understanding, faith and courage”. [Huh? “for Muslims…. that WE…”. Stupid.]
Given the whole Our Lady of Victories thing, surely this is not just out of place, but offensive on such a feast. Which brings me to my point. My wife and I both said nothing during the response, but is this licit? Are we required to join in a prayer that is obviously out of keeping with the faith? What should we do? Our parish is the cathedral for our diocese, by the way.
Thanks as always – my wife loves your answers, particularly the regular GO TO CONFESSION refrain. We need it!
Prayers of the faithful…. oh boy.
When I’ve been at a church as a visitor and the prayers of the faithful are coming at us, as inescapable as a train in a tunnel, I invariably think: “How bad is this going to be?” If I don’t hear something inept, or dumb, or just plain strange, I’m relieved.
We’ve all heard weird prayers of the faithful during Masses. Some of them are head-pounding-on-the-pew stupid. The spontaneous ones are The Worst™.
There are, I believe, templates provided for prayers of the faithful. While not “handcrafted” for this community, they tend to be a) brief and b) not heretical.
The recommended order for intentions given in the Missal is as follows.
- For the needs of the Church
- For the world
- For those in need
- For the local community
It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Heck, I’d consider saying, “For the needs of the Church, we pray to the Lord… Lord, hear our prayer. For the world, we pray to the Lord…” and so forth.
Do you have to say “Amen!” to something that you know is off the wall?
However, if the prayer is in the least reasonable, as the first part of the prayer you mentioned was reasonable, then you probably should say “Amen” and sincerely mean it.
It seems that a lot of these prayers start with something or someone worthy of prayer. For the …. X…. the poor, dying, sick, our nation, the Pope, vocations, travelers, elected politicians, etc. It is in the second part that the writer can often go to the zoo.
Let’s have a POLL.
There are many possible options, but pick the one that best fits your situation. Anyone can vote. Registered users can comment… and I hope you will.
And let me just say: GO TO CONFESSION!
Do I hear and “Amen!”?