A funeral mass for prohibition?


So I was doing a research paper over the history of our county for a history class. Anyway, I was reading the section about my town, and it said that in 1933, when prohibition ended, the town had a funeral mass for the 18th amendment. Not a mock mass or a celebration but apparently a full funeral mass followed by a party. It makes sense since my town was founded by czech settlers who loved their beer.

Anyway, would this be legitimate. I mean it almost seems to me like worshipping a false god. I know alcohol is not all bad and I myself like a good beer, but it seems weird to me that people in my town in the 30’s would do this. Would it be an illegitimate mass?




The first thing we need to learn is what is your source for this information? A newspaper from the time? Or the records of the parish in your town? Big difference, see what I mean?

A mass is a mass, it would not be “illegitimate” even though it might be inappropriate, as a funeral mass is meant for a human being. Keep in mind also this would have been the Tridentine Mass.

What I cautiously guess is maybe the actual form used was “Mass of Thanksgiving” or “Mass in Time of Trial” or some such formula, but people referred to it as a “funeral mass” because it took on that meaning and tone in that town.


This was from a town history, and I think the source was from a newspaper. You are right that it may have been a mass of thanksgiving, but thanksgiving for getting beer back, while a worthy celebration (as long as you don’t celebrate too much;)) seems inappropriate for a mass. It would be like holding a mass of thanksgiving if Barack Obama was defeated. Sure it is a good reason to celebrate, but not as a mass


Keep in mind that many Catholics believed that Prohibition was Anti-Catholic at its core: It mandated special licenses for the Church to obtain wine for Mass, and it was perceived as a direct slap at the Irish, Germans, Poles, Bohemians and other immigrants that favored drinking.

It was certainly NOT a funeral Mass…but it may well have been a legitimate celebration of an end to perceived discrimination…or even persecution. An answer to prayers is worth a Mass of thanksgiving.


Liturgical abuse has been around long before the days of Vatican II. I would not be surprised if the bishop of that diocese had a little chat with the pastor after the "funeral."

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