Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fr. Z. on the question of Masses 'in honor' of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fr. Z, "QUAERITUR: Mass 'in honor' of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." (WDTPRS, January 12, 2011):
I have received a few emails asking me (again, this year) if it is appropriate to celebrate Mass (again, this year) in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I look forward to the day that Masses are arranged by the same people for the intention of the late President Ronald Regan. how about Susan B. Anthony?

Of course that isn’t going to happen, is it.

Holy Church does not permit Masses in honor of a dead person who isn’t a saint or blessed with an cult approved by Holy Catholic Church. It is not permitted to celebrate Mass on honor of a person who has no official cult. As a matter of fact most blesseds can’t even be honored at the altar unless there is permission given for that locale or institute.

On the other hand, I think it is entirely appropriate to celebrate Mass to pray for the repose of the soul of someone who is dead. Surely Dr. King was a sinner, just as well are all sinners. Prayer for the dead is a work of mercy. We should pray relentlessly for the dead.

I suppose the Mass formulary they choose for such an occasion could reflect something of important social interests, such as the defense of human life. The late Dr. King would have appreciated that, I believe, given the fact that Planned Parenthood aimed at abortion of as many black children as possible.1

Masses for a dead person mustn’t be reduced to a “celebration of someone’s life”. That is not what Catholics do. During Mass we pray that God will be merciful to them.

  1. Dr. King’s legacy on reproductive issues appears to be mixed. He may not have favored abortion, but was reportedly honored by Planned Parenthood with its Margaret Sanger Award, who, ironically, promoted eugenics via abortion among the black population. See "Planned Parenthood for blacks: 'humane' alternative to death camps" (Musings, September 4, 2010). -- Site Editor [back]


Saint Michael Come To Our Defense said...

Martin King was not Catholic.

I also believe he was a Freemason.

I further believe Holy Mother Church states people outside the Church have no salvation, therefore, prayers after their death are useless.


Anonymous said...

Isn't there a subtle difference between "no salvation outside of the church" and "no one outside of the church is saved." All salvation comes through Christ and unity with the Roman Church is the fullness of communion with Christ. However, the Church recognizes that all properly baptized persons have some, albeit imperfect, communion with the church and can be saved. Even non-believers who in good conscience try to serve God can be saved through grace that belongs properly to Christ and the Church.

That being said, I am shocked at the attempts to rank MLK with the canonized. He needs prayers as much as the next dearly departed.