Pay to Pray?

In my diocese families that paid $10 stipends for Mass intentions found out that the Bishop gave them to priests who were found unfit for duty–but the families were never told who was actually carrying out these intentions.
Has anyone ever heard of Mass or prayer intentions being assigned to priests who have been removed from parish duties for sexual misconduct?

I don’t understand what you’re saying.

Are people paying $10 to have Masses said for unfit priests? And the problem is that this priest will let them do it?

Or are they not saying who it’s for and they wind up for those priests without the person donating being told Whenever I have a Mass said, I just tell them who it’s for. Are you saying they are not having Masses said for the stated intentions, but instead for intentions of their own? If I just hand over $10 to the parish and tell them to have a Mass said for whatever the pastor wants, then I don’t claim the right to even know, much less approve, who is chosen. If I don’t specify, then I can’t come back later and complain.

Whatever the case, these priests need a great deal of prayers because priests will be judged to a higher standard than the rest of us. :frowning:


The prayer request is made by an individual and unbeknown to them is given by the bishop to priests who have been removed from duty because of sexually abusing children. No one in the diocese is aware that these removed/convicted priests are assigned the intentions-and paid the money.

OK, I’m still missing something.

Do the people know that they are paying for prayer requests that the bishop gets to assign?

Or are they misled into thinking that they have prayer for Uncle Jerry but instead it goes to Father Badguy?

What I’m trying to figure out is:

  1. are the people being lied to or misled about where their contribution is going – or are they just not being informed?
  2. if they are not being informed, then are they being told they will be informed?

If people are giving money for “undesignated Masses” (which btw I’ve never heard of, in case that’s the question) then I don’t understand what the problem is.

Now that you mention it, though, I think I just might have a Mass said for a priest in our diocese who was killed in prison. If so I’ll just use his civil name so people won’t recognize who it is.


Yes, people know the bishop gets to assign the requests.
But they have no idea pedophile priests might be assigned to say the masses or prayers for their loved ones.
People ask for a Mass to be said for Uncle Jerry. A priest deemed no longer for for service executes the intention.
These aren’t prayers being said FOR abusive priests-they are prayers/Masses being said BY abusive priests.

Are you sure they are priest who are guilty of abusing children, or priest who have been accused for something, never prosecuted, but removed from public ministry because of the Church’s zero tolerance policy?

If the later, it’s probable that they are innocent priests who were accused and are now living out their lives in prayer and service, until their names are cleared. Even if they were guilty of some inappropriate behavior, if they confessed, they are forgiven.

In either case, their Masses are as valid as the Pope’s.


The $10 is a Mass stipend. It is offered to the priest as a monetary sacrifice for saying a Mass for a particular intention. Many missionary orders depend on these stipends to help support their priests in their missions. If a priest has so many requests for Masses, he can ask another priest to say it for them.

Many retired priests are asked to say these masses as well. It doesn’t depend on the holiness of the priest. It matters that the Mass is said for the intention requested.

While this is difficult to understand, the bishop in asking priests who are otherwise “not fit for duty” to pray these Masses, is perfectly within his right to do so. These priests are still able to offer the Mass and it may be important for their eternal salvation to pray these Masses. The Mass is the Mass whether the pope offers it or the lowliest parish priest.

Exactly! :thumbsup:

We have a living example in our Archdiocese. The priest has been accused. The investigation started. Nine months after the accusation, the accuser died in a car accident. The investigation stopped. There is no way for this priest to clear his name.

The priest is a former pastor at my parish. I didn’t know him. The parishioners, who did know him, absolutely do not believe the accusation. When the parish runs out of days for Mass Intentions, the overflow and money goes to this priest. He celebrates Mass every morning in his home.

Why is the Bishop getting the money? Usually that goes to the parish. For instance, if I go to the funeral home and give money for a Mass, it is given to the family and they usually take it to their parish and have the Mass said. Is it common for the Bishop to get the stipend and distribute it as he sees fit? I have never heard of this. Unless the Bishop is given the money and asked to say Mass, but that is not usually the case. :confused:

I can only tell you what happened at our parish, and what our pastor did about it.

We had a 3 year backlog of Mass Intentions. The parish office staff kept scheduling Mass Intentions, accepting money, even though the Mass Intentions couldn’t be completed in the current year.

When this pastor came to the parish, he promptly stopped the staff from scheduling that far in advance. He had them work in the current year. The backlog (Mass Intentions and money) was divided between a Carmelite and a Franciscan monastery, who were very grateful for the money, and more than happy to celebrate the Masses.

I don’t know why the Bishop was involved. In our case, our pastor handled the situation.

I have a question as to the scheduling of (a) Mass under general conditions.

There are 365 days in a year, and so, at any given parish, Mass is said (at least) daily, or twice or more daily under special circumstances (Sundays, holy-days), etc., how are the intentions chosen or scheduled? Is it simply by whomever’s name is first on the list (chronologically), or is it by the monetary amount of the donation (so those who give more money get to choose whether they want the Mass for their intention said sooner, or that they get to request a High Mass, or a Sunday Mass, etc., or for some reason they need a Mass said A.S.A.P.)… and are some Masses said without any such intentions? Can a donor specify that they want a Mass offered only for their specific intention, thus “bumping” others down the list…?

I’ve always wondered about this and I hope I am being clear in my question, with no disrespect meant. :o

Thank you for your time.

In our parish, it’s on a first-come, first-served basis for any particular Mass. I might ask if I can have a Mass said on my mother’s birthday, for example, and the answer is either “yes” or “pick another date.” Or else I can just offer a Mass and I think they just bump it to the next available one.

I’ve never heard of an intention coming in and “bumping” another one from its date. I’m not claiming it isn’t done, but I’ve never seen it. At our parish we can ask what date our Mass intention was, so if we don’t see it published in the bulletin that week, we would find out.


Hi WiccanWoman,

Welcome to CAF! :slight_smile:

I am by no means an expert on Mass Intentions. I can only tell you what is done at my parish.

One intention per Mass----1 Daily Mass Monday thru Saturday, 3 Masses on Sunday. The $10 stipend is only a suggestion, some pay more, some don’t pay at all. No Mass intention is refused for lack of payment or amount of payment. If the Mass is available, it’s yours. Once the Mass intention is scheduled no one can bump you off.

5 Masses per month are held open for the people who need a Mass intention ASAP. You can’t request a High Mass—the Latin Mass is only celebrated on Saturdays at our parish. However, we do have parishes in the Archdiocese who celebrate the Latin Mass, Extraordinary Form, exclusively. You could schedule your Mass intention at one of those parishes, if you want a High Mass.

No Mass is celebrated without an intention, at least not at my parish. We get a few Masses with—“For the people.”, meaning no one scheduled a Mass intention on that day.

I hope someone will chime in with the relevant rules for you.

Church law requires that at one Sunday Mass each week in each parish, the intention be pro populi – for the entire community – without any concurrent intention.

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