Tibetan Prayer Flags hung in Catholic Church

Hello all,

Do you see a contradiction in faith when arriving at your parish church for Mass and seeing hanging above the altar a string of Tibetan Prayer Flags hanging from pillar to pillar. Besides being a terrible distraction is this not a desecration of the altar and church? Knowing them to be a form of superstition and symbolic of the talisman symbols which equates to magical powers. Do I have a legitimate reason for being upset?

I saw these up at a (Catholic) relative’s home over the 4th, and was momentarily taken aback…I would be curious, too, as to what the official position is on these sorts of things.

Yes, it is not uncommon to find them hanging in an individual’s home. Many people have bought into the concept of compassion and peace part of the Buddhist philosophy and they put them in their homes. Here is a link you may want to visit. tibetanprayerflags.com

Whether they are superstitious or not is not the point. There is no place in a catholic church for symbols of other faiths or even other Christian expressions–for example, protestant books.

Have you contacted the pastor of the church to ask what the purpose of the flags was? The only charitable construct I can come up with is that they rented the space to another group which didn’t take down the flags–but that is a very far-fetched example.

Yes you should be concerned. Call the pastor and speak with him about it and ask him to remove them, since they are an offense to religion.

Our priest is going to meditate at a monastary in Tibet for one to three months.

QUOTE=Sr Sally;5418171]Whether they are superstitious or not is not the point. There is no p[lace in a catholic church for symbols of other faiths or even other Christian expressions–for example, protestant books.

I’ll give that an AMEN …:slight_smile:

And it would concern me for the catechesis of those in your parish. You can’t be a house divided…introducing " *whatever" wind of doctrine from other traditions :juggle:
It breeds confusion. We wonder why the church is losing it’s people. They’re hungering for the truth that can change their lives…and our faith is the **fullness of truth **. Buddah is in his grave…The tomb of Jesus is empty.

What kind of monastery? There are Catholic communities there. But usually when someone talks about a Tibetan Monastery they don’t mean Catholic.

I would personally choose a different parish if I were you.

It is not Catholic.

Thanks to all who have commented regarding my question. So far the pastor of the parish has not responded. He will though because he is one person who usually gives a lot of thought to his answers. My suspicion is Father did not realize what the prayers are and represent when he calmly announced during Mass, they are Tibetan Prayer Flags. I sent him a link to a good website and anticipate the flags will come down very soon.

I will be leaving the parish if they not removed. This causes great pain since I am among the senior citizens of the parish and have been a member since my birth.
I feel a little better since your comments. Honestly, my greatest fear is none of the parishioners know what these are. I do not want to cause an explosive situation, but very easily could do this. I need to tread lightly and am not ready to carry a big stick.

Thanks for your comment.
Mary Frederick

It sounds like your priest was well meaning. A lot of wacky stuff happens when people are well meaning but ignorant about what they are doing.

I will be leaving the parish if they not removed. This causes great pain since I am among the senior citizens of the parish and have been a member since my birth.

Mary Frederick

Priests get moved around every few years, so maybe you could find a temporary home somewhere else for the sacraments without cutting off friendships and fellowship with your fellow parishoners.

Also, did you think about asking those fellow parishoners about “teaming up” to make the parish more orthodox?

Now do you know what these prayer flags actually say?

It’s possible (howsoever unlikely) they were inscribed with Christian prayers.

Since the Psalmist sang, “Holiness becomes Your house, O Lord, unto the ages,” it’s not very likely that these things can desecrate a Church. After all, don’t unbelievers, non-Christians, and even pagans enter Catholic Churches all the time?

That would be nice, however they are not Christian prayers.
Mary Frederick

If there’s room in Catholic Masses for non-Catholic (but still Christian) hymns (did you know that the long-and-often-used hymn ‘O Sacred Head Surrounded/Sore Wounded’ was in fact written by Luther?) then there is certainly room in Catholic homes for non-Catholic Christian literature.

What about those Catholics who the Vatican itself deputises to dialogue with our fellow Christians? How can they hope to do so without having some understanding of those other Christian faiths, which must be gained in part by reading their literature?

Having said the above, no I don’t think it’s appropriate to deliberately allow Tibetan Prayer flags in a church. Here in Australia we have the recent example of the archdiocese of Brisbane which castigated one parish for having a statue of Buddha in the church, which you should cite to your bishop if need be.
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Could anyone explain to me what is the sudden attraction of Catholic priests to Buddha?

I would never have one in my home or even in my garden. I wouldn’t expect a Buddist to have St. Francis in his. For me, this is idoltry. A priest doesn’t know this???!!!

It’s not sudden by any means - Fr Thomas Merton back in the '60s was similarly attracted to Buddhism and other Eastern faiths, and wrote a great deal about his experiences of the. As were many Christians, clerics and laity alike, of other stripes as well, of course, during that particular decade. I’m sure plenty of others have more or less quietly followed his lead ever since.

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