Can a priest bring his dog to mass?


As long as the dog did not receive Communion, and did not participate in the Rite of Peace, what is the big deal? The priest did not humanize the dog, according to the OP’s report. He didn’t get to sit up in the first pew, according to the OP’s report, nor did the dog do his business on one of the pillars in the church. Sounds as if the dog behaved better than some people.

Charitably, we just don’t know if it was a service dog or not.


First of all, I LOVE dogs…I am a HUGE animal person.

However, we are letting preference get in the way of propriety. Unless the dog was needed for medical reasons (which, as it was pointed out, we don’t know…so we should keep an open mind toward that), it is simply inappropriate to have the dog that close to the sanctuary. Perhaps if he even sat in the back of the nave of the church I could understand, but on the steps of the sanctuary?

How could that NOT be a big deal??? It’s a huge distraction. Our former pastor LOVED his golden retriever and brought her to the parish office quite often. Sometimes he would also leave her in his car and bring her out after Mass for people to pet and greet…but never during Mass.


It could well be that he was going somewhere after Mass and taking his dog. If it was a hot day he certainly couldn’t leave the dog in the car.


I love animals, particularly cats, but I would keep them in the rectory during Mass.

I once attended a parish where, during the homily, this white thing shot under my pew and worked it’s way forward. I thought it was an escaped rabbit or something until this little poodile* dog laid down by the presider’s chair. Apparently, he brought it every day and allowed it to roam around the church at will during Mass.

*Poodile - having poodle-like characteristics.

Another priest I knew had a Siberian husky that he would tether to the handrail outside the main door of the church. It was friendly and allowed people to pet it, but for those who were afraid of dogs or allergic to them, they would have to go in the side entrance to avoid it. This seemed rather inconsiderate. When the bell rang before Mass, the dog would howl and “talk” as huskies do. Inevitably it would escape and go up into the choir loft to howl along with the choir.


Well, if it’s not a service dog and the priest had to bring the animal to the church for some reason (vet appointment right after Mass – if not on a Sunday?). I think the pup should have done his lengthy “down-stay” in the sacristy. This is the season of hot weather. He certainly couldn’t leave poochie in the car or tie him up outside, could he?


Looks like we posted simultaneously and said pretty much the same thing.


I don’t really see what the problem would have been since there was no disturbance and the dog was well-behaved.



was it a Saint Bernard? Or a German Shepherd?

As long as the dog is well behaved and doesn’t defile the sacred vessels, I can see this being okay in extreme circumstances.


Yes, I should agree so. Our parish has dogs and they “attend mass” with us: sitting and standing when the congregation sits and stands.


Our now deceased pastor had a dog. He would wander around the church grounds freely, including into the church during mass. We celebrated mass in the hall for many years until funds were raised to build the church building, so the doors and sliders were always open. He would mostly lay down and take a nap during Mass, but I do remember at least one time that he took a drink from the baptismal font:confused:.


I’m surprised there are no rules about this. Muslims, and I think Jews also, consider dogs unclean. I do too.

I was raised on a farm. No way would I let an animal near the Holy of Holies. People who kiss dogs don’t know where their mouths have been.

Plus, as others have mentioned, there is the distraction factor.


That’s a hoot!

Mother Ruth, the founding superior of the Community of the Holy Spirit (a community of Episcopalian Sisters) in New York, had a pet Airedale, Jonathan. The dog had the run of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s School for many years until he got a little crotchety in his old age and had to be expelled. Jonathan used to lie obediently beside Mother Ruth’s choir stall in chapel, punctuating the liturgy with his steady, and quite audible, snores.


Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly! I offer Thee the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.

An Angel prostrated himself before the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of Jesus Christ and taught the three children of Fatima thus to make reparation to our Eucharistic Lord.


:confused: :mad: God made the dog. There was no intention of profanation, and no discription thereof. To my mind, to assume the worst is uncharitable, and a sin in itself.


:slight_smile: Yes,it might very well be a service dog.I would ask Father about the dog.
I too had an encounter in church with an animal,but this was a cricket.
One day at Good Shepherd i heard a cricket in church during Sunday mass.i’m sure others heard it too.It wasn’t very loud,but once in awhile you would hear it chirp.

Well we were all standing up reciting i think the Apostles creed or something.The next thing you know,you could hear this cricket chirping very loud, all over the church.Everyone heard it.The cricket seemd to chirp in time to our prayers,to keep up with us, and then it stopped shortly before we said amen.

I almost laughed,because it was funny to was this little bug,whose voice was louder than all us humans,joining us in praising God and His son,Jesus.
I’m sure people will think I’m nuts for saying this,but I truely believe that was what happend.After all,St.Francis spoke to the wolf,and preached to the birds, and St.Anthony of Pauda converted a heritec when the man’s donkey knelt before the Blessed Sacrement.The man told St.Anthony that he didn’t believe Christ was in the Eucharist.He said he would only believe it if his donkey bowed before it. So they made a wager.The donkey would not be given food for two or three days.
They would meet again in the square.There would be a pile of hay
and St.Anthony would bring the eucharist. The man said if the donkey chose the Host over the hay,then he would believe Christ was present in the Eucharist.Well St.Anthony prayed much.
On the appointed day,the donkey was let free.The donkey went over to St.Anthony and knelt before him,instead of eating the hay.
When the man saw that he confessed his sins and converted.


i think i heard a cricket at adoration the other night.

we have also had a bird in church. on hot summer days we have to have all of the doors and windows wide open and that bird just had to pray :slight_smile:


(Please note that I am the Friendly Neighborhood Methodist, & none of my opinions, therefore, have any canonical relevance…but– (:blush: As always), I have an opinion.)

There are any number of good reasons why the dog might be there. Several have been mentioned. Here are a few others:
1.The dog just wandered in, & the priest is still trying to figure out how to stop this, without :eek: interrupting mass to chase the animal home again. Not a real option,:wink: IMNSHO].
2. The dog is in training to become a service dog. We get lots of these at the Methodist Church, and then they go on to a Catholic Church another Sunday, etc, until they know how to behave properly. [If this is the case, Father has his heart in the right place, but is, IMO, doing it wrong]. If you have Lions Club/Rotary/whatever service org as members, they do this a lot–training service animals. Maybe KofC, too??
3.Father has come to know that letting the dog in, is the lesser of two evils.[See Phemie’s post: This sort of thing was one of my thoughts, also].
4.Sometimes there is a behavioural problem related to age and/or health. [Some breeds are prone to a form of Alzsheimer’s, & the only way to care for them in their last days, is to not upset them unduelly. Cats may also have this problem in advanced age].
5. Do we know for sure that this is, indeed, a dog belonging to this actual priest? I have seen more than one stray animal just decide to come to church of a Sunday morning, sometimes trailing after a scent, sometimes just lonely, or bored. Only the bats who do this bother me.Pastor just shoos said into:shrug: the men’s room, & comes back & picks up where he left off.[Sometimes you do what you have to do. Something swooping over your head is definitely attention-getting; half the congregation was under the pews!!].

There are also some bad reasons why the dog may have been there. Ask someone else, who has been around the parish for awhile, before approaching Father, I think…Just to insure that you are not always hereafter referred to behind your back as “That nosy-nelly who made poor Father have his dear old pet put down when it was all ready living out its last few weeks in this world”. [Dogs get terminal illnesses, too, you know. Sometimes they are not in pain, just needy for a time, & then they pass away quietly, knowing they are loved & cared for].
Because it just may be, that you don’t know the whole story. I have seen all these scenarios & more played out before my very eyes…[In one case, the dog passed away between the early service & the late one, having slept under the front pew in the first].

Again: My opinion & :twocents: amounts to a little loose change.


Cynical me says that if the dog laid in one place for an hour+ long Mass, where there was lots of movement and noise, it was almost certainly a service dog. I worked at a vets office, not even thier dogs were that well behaved.


I think you are the nicest Methodist I know, Zooey, and I worked at GBOP in Evanston, so I know lots of Methodists!:hug1:


I’m beginning to think that dogs like churchy things. When my dad was a kid in the late forties there was a neighborhood dog (aka stray) who went to Catholic school with them. He showed up at the same time as the kids and slept next to the nun’s desk while they were in class. He ate lunch with the kids, went out and played with them at recess, and was always quiet and well behaved. He never missed a day of school was there for several years.

I’ve also heard of bringing your pets to Mass Oct 4 for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi to be blessed. I know some parishes have Mass out on the lawn on those days, but some allow pets inside the sanctuary. I can’t imagine that there would be a rule against bringing his dog as long as it’s behaving and praying and not whizzing on pews.

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