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