“Ask a Priest: Should We Hear More About the War and the Pope at Mass?”

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Q: I’m having concerns about the recent statements by Pope Francis regarding Putin’s assaults on Ukraine. Mass is an opportunity for us to be gathered in community, as “family” in our faith. I’m hoping that would be a discussion coming from our clergy toward laity while we are gathered at Mass. Shouldn’t we, the laity in the pews, be having conversations with our clergy to discuss this recent language of the Pope? – L.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Your concern about Ukraine and the Church’s response is admirable, though I’m not sure what specific comments of Pope Francis you are referring to.

The war in Ukraine and the Holy Father’s dealing with the issue in relation to the Russians is a very complex and delicate area.

Suffice it to say that homilies are not the best venue for bringing up these topics, except in a general way (such as asking for prayers for peace, etc.).

Experience has taught that bringing up geopolitics explicitly in the homily is a sure-fire way of angering or alienating people in the pews — Catholics see issues from very different perspectives.

Moreover, talking geopolitics would blur the real point of the Mass: It is the coming of Christ among us. The Mass as a whole, including the homily, is meant to unite us, nourish us with the Eucharist and the word of God, and keep our sights on spiritual ends.

It would be good to pray for peace and to give your parish priests the benefit of the doubt. For good reason they aren’t addressing the war and Russia and the Pope from the pulpit.

Feel free, of course, to bring up the discuss the topic with whomever you wish – but outside of Mass.

And let’s all pray for peace in Europe.


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One Comment
  1. Catholics see issues from different perspectives. How true!

    While I do agree the Russian Ukraine War is too complex an issue to speak of from the pulpit, and while I too am not sure what this person is questioning with regards our Pope’s comments re: the Russian war, any comments the Pope makes that are not about Faith and Morals of Catholics . . . is, as I understand, our Pope speaking as any other: giving an opinion. An opinion our media sometimes misinterprets, so CORRECT; opinions by our Pope is not a pulpit topic.

    There are topics that could be addressed from the pulpit with regards the Universal Faith in God and morality and, whether it angers some in the pew or not, it would be nice if homily’s spoke on that which
    offends God and can hinder a Catholic’s spiritual growth. SINs of the flesh. (abortion, living out of wedlock,
    contraception, illicit drug abuse . . . it offends God and sometimes ‘the seemingly best Catholics’ need to
    know what it meant when the water went over the head and soul entered the Divine life of God’s ‘only’ Son.
    TRUTH may anger some, but . . . better it is heard here then ‘up there.’

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