Offering mass / blasphemous?

Hello I have a question. I was explaining prayers in mass to someone who is not Catholic, and I mentioned something about when a “mass is in honor of…” And then we mention the name of the person during the prayer session, where everyone says what we should pray for. The phrase this mass is offered for or in honor of sounded blasphemous to this person, and I can see why with the verbiage. I said we pray to God and don’t pray to this person, we simply ask to pray for that person, in remembering them. This still raised blasphemous concern because a mass should only be offered to God and not in co-junction with anyone else. I get it, but I don’t know how to explain it. Ideas?

Why do we offer a mass to anyone?

A Mass is offered up for the benefit OF someone. We are offering that Mass for their benefit, that they will be released from Purgatory and enjoy the Beatific Vision and be in God’s Presence.

The Mass is only offered to God the Father, which is the sacrifice of the Son, through the Holy Spirit.

If your friend has issue with it, ask them why offering a prayer to God for another person is blasphemy.


What ZZ912 said.

I’d simply add that a Mass is offered for the memory of the deceased–in memoriam–for the repose of the souls of a person–in requiem–and on their behalf. IOW, we offer the Sacrifice of the Mass–the Perfect Sacrifice–Christ’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity–on their behalf. An offering, on their behalf, in their memory, for the repose of their souls:

Requiem Masses are masses that are offered for the dead. They derive their name from the first word of the Introit, which may be traced to the Fourth Book of Esdras, one of the Apocrypha, at the passage “Expectate pastorem vestrum, requiem æternitatis dabit vobis . . . Parati estote ad præmia regni, qui lux perpetua lucabit vobis æternitatem temporis” (IV Esd., ii, 34, 35). It is also connected with a passage in Isaias, “Et requiem tibi dabit Dominus semper, et implebit splendoribus animam tuam” (Is. lxviii, 11). The Antiphon is from Psalm lxiv. The date of the adoption of this Introit is not well known, but it is found in the so-called Antiphonary of St. Gregory Come of Albino (see the edition Rome, 1691. p. 226). In that work, however, there are two other Introits for the Mass of the Dead, one of which is “Ego sum resurrectio et vita; . . . non morietur in æternam”; and the other, “Rogamus te, Dominus Deus noster, ut suscipias animam hujus defuncti, pro quo sanguinem tuum fudisti; recordare Domine quia pulvis sumus et homo sicut foenum flos agri.” The religious idea that the soul is immortal made even the Jews hold that the just, after death, went to sleep with their fathers (cf. Genesis 47:30; 1 Kings 2:10; 2 Maccabees 7:45), and Christians believed with St. Paul that they slept in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:18). From the first century, therefore, prayers were offered that the dead might have eternal rest. Gregory of Tours (Glor. Mart., I, lxv), speaking of a Christian woman who each day caused the Divine Sacrifice to be offered for her deceased husband, says, “Non diffisa de Domine miseracordia, quod haberet defunctis requiem.” And St. Ambrose (Ob. Valentiniani imp, no. 56) writes: “Date manibus sancta mysteria, pio requiem ejus poscamus officio.” So originated the Introit for the Mass for the Dead.

also from the Catechism:


*1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin*."609 From the beginning** the Church has honored the memory of the dead** and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.610 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.611

At our Parish, at the end of the prayers for the dead (in the prayers of the faithful), “…and for xxxx, who we especially remember at this Mass, we pray to the Lord”.

As someone else said, we don’t offer a Mass TO anyone else but God. The Mass is the highest form of prayer. That part of the Mass is where we offer all of our individual prayers, (and the prayers of the Mass) FOR the whole Church, as well as FOR the special remembrance of a particular soul (by name). That special remembrance is usually requested by a friend or family member. Since Catholics believe in Purgatory, we offer prayers for the souls of the dead at every Mass.

Maybe you should ask your friend if they think it’s ‘blasphemy’ to pray for a family member who is sick, or dieing, or is having some sort of difficulty in their life. Or, to ask their congregation to pray for them. I doubt they’d think it was, but I guess I could be wrong. :shrug:

Thanks all

I know my friend would agree with praying for a family or sick person. But it was the term “in honor of” or “mass intentions for” that made it sound like the mass is being dedicated to someone other than God. It’s all in the verbiage and words used that raised the flag. I go to mass and I see it, and I get it. I just didn’t know the right words to use to explain the actual intention of what is going on.

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