Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Washington archdiocese warns priests against inappropriately associating the Church's Liturgy with political protest

February 22, 2017

Dear Brother Priest,

Recently, Catholic Mass was celebrated in Lafayette Square, across from the White House, for people who were protesting and exercising their free speech rights.

As you can understand, this type of event can cause confusion among the faithful and can potentially diminish the dignity of our liturgical worship by inappropriately associating the Mass with political protest.

It is good to be reminded that the Liturgical Norms and Policies of the Archdiocese of Washington provide that "Every legitimate celebration of the Eucharist in the Archdiocese of Washington is directed by the Archbishop, either in person or through priests who are his helpers” (Norms, 6.3.1); and, “for the celebration of the Eucharist, the people of God normally are gathered together in a church or, if there is no church or if it is too small, then in another respectable place that is nonetheless worthy of so great a mystery.” (Norms, 6.17.1)

If you are approached by a person or group to celebrate Mass anyplace other than an approved Catholic church or Catholic place of worship, please contact my office so that we might assess whether or not to grant permission for the celebration.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. With kind regards, I am

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout Auxiliary Bishop of Washington 

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