Stop calling Martin Luther King Jr. a "modern day prophet" during Mass

I move around quite a bit and have lived in state after state, but it seems that every year around the time of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Holiday, I hear him being called a “modern day prophet” during the Prayer of the Faithful (where we respond “Lord here our prayer”) during Mass. Martin Luther King Jr. is not a modern day prophet.

I’m not singling anyone out because I’ve heard this even at parishes that are otherwise very orthodox. So, I think people doing it are well intentioned, but I think it has to stop. I’m addressing it here because I think it’s a trend that is happening in parishes all over America.

The big problem with it is that it’s like canonizing him when the Church would not since:

  1. He’s a Protestant. And a Protestant can’t model the Catholic faith especially one who has characterized the Catholic hierarchy as corrupt.

  2. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. But he was known to have accepted an award from Planned Parenthood for which he praised them and their work. Planned Parenthood makes this claim about him.

  3. What he preached was basically liberation theology. So the reason he was killed wasn’t for Christ but for political reasons. Which means that he wasn’t a martyr for Christ.

Even though I do not believe he is a prophet and it is wrong to call him that, even so I think you are foolish for judging him on his wrongs. Did Abraham not sleep with Hagar who then bore Ishmael? Even prophets can sin.

You just called me foolish and told me not to judge someone. Calling someone “foolish” is more offensive than what I said about Martin Luther King Jr. when all I did was mention what his beliefs were. Do you see the irony? I wasn’t pointing out his sins. I was showing how his beliefs are incompatible with Catholic faith and morals and how therefore Catholics shouldn’t call him a “modern day prophet”, especially during Mass.

I have not heard anything like that spoken during mass before. I agree, the title of “prophet” is a little much. I just so happened to be reading Jeramiah recently and this verse immediately reminded me of Martin Luther King Jr.

Jeramiah 23:25

I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!

Not at all to say we should consider this to be speaking of him but, you can see how one would make the connection. It is deffinately an interesting coincidence, to say the least, that you say he has actually been referred to as a prophet…during mass!

I meant I think it is foolish, sorry.

I accept your apology. Please see my post again since I edited it to explain myself better. By the way, I came into the Catholic Church through the RCIA about 20 years ago. I wish you well when you start RCIA in the Fall. :slight_smile:

Another coincidence! My husband and our kids are attending RCAI, due to receive their sacraments this Easter. Very exciting! Sending prayers your way!

You have to read the biography. He was a Baptist minister. He was the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. He was a gentle, eloquent man who stood for reminding this country of its heritage and duty to all men. He was a peace (ful) promoter - a voice for the black man. When he was arrested after a peaceful protest, then United States Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, called the jail where he was and asked if he could be released on bond. He told those who followed his dream, that if they could not take the insults, the thrown bottles and bricks and the police with fire hoses and dogs, to not march with him. He understood that not all who supported him could take it.

He wrote from jail that Jesus was in that jail cell with him. At a public event, he was seated behind a table and a woman asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. He said yes, and she stabbed him. Of course, people nearby held her for the police but the knife was stuck in his chest. It was reported that the blade was so close to his heart that if he sneezed, the blade might cut it. After it was removed, he received letters - one from a white girl who simply wrote: “I’m glad you didn’t sneeze.”

I have not read that he called the Catholic hierarchy corrupt.

I have not read that he accepted an award from Planned Parenthood.

He was killed for two reasons: (1) He was a threat to those who still had racial hatred toward the black man. The FBI tried but failed to prove he had any connection with Communism. For too long, restaurants either refused to serve “colored people” or had a “coloreds only” entrance, and public drinking fountains for colored people were so marked. Read his, ‘I have a dream’ speech.’ He didn’t want people to be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. He reminded the entire country that “all men are created equal.” And that our nation should live up to that pledge.

This peaceful man met with Malcolm X to try to find common ground, and was under suspicion because groups like the Black Panther Party existed - another FBI target. When race riots began to occur in the 1960s, it was assumed that he was a threat to national security, so military intelligence became involved. Malcolm X was murdered in public.

No, he was not a saint. He told his followers he might not get to the “promised land” with them.

(2) He was about to speak out against the war in Vietnam. A war where the number of black soldiers was out of proportion to the number of white soldiers.

He was a Christian and his vision and his way of peaceful protest and prophecy of the fruits it would bring, at least makes him a man who tried to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and set the nation on a course towards peaceful coexistence between black and white.

No, the Church cannot declare him a Catholic martyr, but they can recognize him by the fruits of what he risked his life for.


Thank you for that beautiful post about a wonderful man. I pray it inspires and educates all who read it.

In my experience opinions expressed regarding Martin Luther King tell you far more about the person giving the opinion than about King himself.

This thread is about it being inappropriate to call Martin Luther King Jr. a “modern day prophet” during Mass. Are you trying to say otherwise?

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