Are these liturgical abuses?

  1. Having the national flag and the Holy See flag inside the church.

  2. The national anthem being played before the start of the Mass.

  1. no
  2. no but generally I would say very bad taste unless there is some exceptional reason

I am old enough to remember WW II, During that war ( when the Mass and everything else in the Church was in Latin) there was an American Flag with or without the Papal Flag in every Catholic Church. Likewise, the National Anthem and other Patriotic songs were common either before or immediately following the Mass.
At that time, no one thought or felt such things were inappropriate. I fail to see why anyone would think otherwise today.

  1. No. It is up to the local bishop.

  1. It is not a liturgical abuse if not during the liturgy.

Hmm, we go to Church to give Glory to God, Religious and Secular should not be mixed together in my opinion. Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and render to God what belongs to God.

It is the custom in many countries to display the national and Vatican flags inside churches. Exactly where they should go depends on the building itself, but it would be better for them to be outside the sanctuary.

Patriotic songs on national holidays are appropriate when they are prayers, asking God to bless the country. The national anthems of some countries are hymns which do just that.
Anthems of other countries which state a national ideal or philosophy, extol the beauty of the land, or warn enemies what will happen to them if they attack, are best sung outside the Mass, and some of them should never be sung inside a church at all.

A better hymn for use during a Mass in America would be our national hymn, “God of Our Fathers.” “America, the Beautiful” is also a prayer for God’s blessings on America.

Agreed. The Mass is not a ball game.

I don’t know that I have a problem with seeing our national flag in a church, but one thing this thread made me realize is that I no longer actually see the flag in any local churches. When I was a kid (under 7), the parish we belonged to at the time had the US flag and 2-3 others (I’m guessing one was the Vatican flag, but I have no idea of the other 1-2) on the side of the altar. When we moved to a new parish, they also had the US and I’m guessing the Vatican flag on the side of the altar. At some point in the last 20-25 years, that changed and there are no longer any flags on the altar, although I have no idea when it occurred.

I found this link from ewtn that may give some insight to the origin and to the placement

Several readers asked about the appropriateness of having national flags in the sanctuary.

Surprisingly, there are no regulations of any kind governing the display of flags in Roman Catholic churches. Neither the Code of Canon law, nor the liturgical books of the Roman rite comment on this practice. As a result, the question of whether and how to display a national or other flag in a church is left up to the judgment of the diocesan bishop, who in turn often delegates this to the discretion of the pastor.

It appears that the origin of the display of the American flag in many U.S. parishes stems from the custom of offering prayers for those who served during World War II. At that time, many bishops and pastors provided a book of remembrance near the American flag, requesting prayers for loved ones — especially those serving their country in the armed forces — as a way of keeping before the attention of the faithful the needs of military families.

After the war the custom of having the flag present in the sanctuary, often accompanied by the pontifical standard, continued even in periods with no major international conflicts.

The practice, while not confined to the United States, is not widespread in other countries and is usually confined to certain churches of particular national importance.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, for example, displays a large national flag near the image of the Patroness of America and in another part of the church the flags of all the nations of North and South America.

The U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy has in the past encouraged pastors not to place the flag within the sanctuary itself, in order to reserve that space for the altar, the ambo, the presidential chair and the tabernacle. Instead, the suggestion has been made that the American flag be placed outside the sanctuary, or in the vestibule of the church together with a book of prayer requests. It remains, however, for the diocesan bishop to determine regulations in this matter.

Personally I would hold that national flags are best kept out of the sanctuary and the practice should not be introduced where no custom exists. If used, however, they should be discreet and of modest dimensions.

Absolutely. I am not at Mass to honor the USA.

None of us are. But in case anyone has the idea that innovations only crept into the sanctuary after Vatican II then they should at least consider the point when the flags were put there.

Hmmm. How would you feel about a stained glass window behind the altar with an image of Our Lady of Czestochowa and the script “Regina Poloniae”? It is always there, of course, because it is built into the wall. It’s a little bit more than a flag in the corner, and yet it does not offend me.

Perhaps only “Muricans” are so sensitive.:shrug:

While I would not want to hear the national anthem of the United States during Mass, I would not go so far as to say it would be a liturgical abuse to include it —unless or until a bishop or bishop’s conference with jurisdiction declares it to be an abuse.

The same thing goes for flags in the sanctuary. Many of those of us who are a bit older grew up seeing flags in the sanctuary but eventually saw those flags moved to a different location in the building. As has been elsewhere noted in this thread, there is no legislation on the matter, except perhaps at the local level. Whatever people’s feelings about flags, they do not constitute abuses.

But where would you draw the line? State flag ok? Village flag ok? How about the Pledge of Allegiance which we sometimes do with U.S. flags on display inside buildings?

Well when I was growing up we had the Vatican Flag and the American flag in the sanctuary. I don’t think we had a California flag. I know my current parish did have an American Flag and a Vatican Flag in the narthex. I don’t remember seeing them lately. Perhaps they’ve been moved to our hall. Or maybe I just don’t notice them anymore.

I suppose at some point poor aesthetics do cross the line to liturgical abuse. You could have too many flowers in the sanctuary. But I don’t know how you would put a quantifier on such things. It would partly depend on the size of the sanctuary. But I still think that poor taste in and off itself does not constitute abuse.

As far as saying the Pledge of Allegiance— Well that crosses the line from passive environment to active political “liturgy”. Unless it is permitted under one of the multitude of special liturgical rites then I would think it would be an abuse.

If we are talking about extra-liturgical uses for church buildings, then there are guidelines for such things and the bishop has some discretion. :shrug:

the Op is from the Philipines.

speak to your priest about your concerns

The line is drawn where the bishop says.

Op, the best things to do when one has a question about the liturgy is to always go the the priest first, ask your question and get his response or take on it. There are very few true liturgy experts on CAF that can give you a correct response, only personal opinions and views. Since you are from the Philippines there might be cultural differences and expectations as well.

Outside of Mass, I have no problems with secular but tasteful displays. But flags are semi-permanent fixtures in the church. It would be like hanging a portrait of the president. Really out of place.

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