Was this violating liturgical law or was it just a de facto bad idea?

A year or two ago at a school mass (I’m only 15), during the bringing up of the gifts, one of the students doing this was a Hindu and since then I’ve been metaphorically scratching my head about whether or not this was an acceptable action.

Given the fact that the Mass IS a true sacrifice and an icon of the heavenly liturgy, it strikes me as grossly inappropriate that this would be done. So is this actually on-the-books forbidden or am I over thinking things? :confused:

While there are certain liturgical roles which should only be filled by a Catholic in good standing who has been specifically appointed to the task, the act of bringing the gifts forward is usually understood to be very much an action of the general laity. Since this was a school Mass I would have to assume that the Mass was intended to be for the intentions and benefit of the students, including the students who are non-Christian.

If this Hindu student was respectful of the Mass and wanted to offer his/her prayers and works to the Lord I don’t see it as a problem for this student to have assisted in bringing the gifts forward.

However it has evidently caused you some grief to have observed this. That is why not everything that can be done should always be done.

I taught at a Catholic high school for ten years, and witness open communion being carried to the extent that a non-Christian (specifically a Jewish student) thought nothing of going up to receive. On another occasion, a Sikh boy did a reading from the Koran during Mass (I am not making this up).

I’m actually pretty liberal and sort of hold back when I post here so as not to offend on what is basically a conservative site, but these things were too much even for me. You ask was it violating liturgical law or was it just a de facto bad idea? The answer is yes.

Why would a Sikh read from the Koran since Sikhs are not Muslim? The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the holy book of Sikhism and is the eleventh Guru of the Sikhs. The Holy Granth Sahib is treated like a living Guru by the Sikhs and is respected, loved and cared for like the previous living Gurus before. Just out of curiosity was the reading by a Muslim or a Sikh? Or do you know?

In the past this would have been forbidden because the Offertory was part of the Liturgy of the Faithful and any Catechumen would have been dismissed at this point. But the discipline on it has changed.

When I was a sophomore in highschool, I went to an all-boys Catholic school, one of the best in the country (Philippines). But being an all-boys school, you could imagine the amount of teenage testosterone, so we were a rowdy bunch. One of the class officers is a Religious Coordinator who would lead the class for prayers before and after each class. Well, we picked the Hindu guy to be the Religious Coordinator because we thought it was funny. Although our Religon teacher said that she hopes that the experience would help him discern convertion to Catholicism. He did lead is in class prayers and even the Rosary. Not sure if today he’s already a Catholic. But it all started out as a prank.

So who knows, maybe that Hindu person may realize something by participating in our Liturgy. Bringing the offerings today does not require one to be baptized. Maybe it becomes the string that God tugs on his heart.

Sometimes I wish in such a multi-cultural and multi-faith society, either the Byzantine Divine Liturgy would be used or the Roman Mass adopt giving the antidoron. In the Byzantine Rite, 5 loaves of bread are prepared for every Liturgy. Not all of the bread is consecrated, but all of it are blessed by the priest. The bread left unconsecrated is given out to all, Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

I wonder if the boy was a practicing Hindu or just Indian. Non-Catholics are admitted into Catholic schools, so they are allowed to be part of our Church in some way. The gifts we present at the offertory are just bread and wine offered by the people. I found this on a parish website: The simple gifts of bread and wine represent, in their unity, the many grains and grapes of human diversity but also the collective experience of the congregation in terms of works and sufferings and indeed every single element of cosmic reality that God has created. If the boy is not Catholic it would be abusive if he distributed the Body of Christ.

He didn’t distribute, he brought up the gifts for the offertory.

Regular lay ministries such as readers, choir singers, and EMHCs should be baptized Catholics. Although I’ve heard of cases that organ players sometimes are “hired” from Protestant denoms. As long as the choir leader is Catholic, I guess.

If he is Hindu, and not Catholic, than it gives an erroneous and scandalous impression. The real harm is done to the Hindu student - though others may be injured as well - who might now fancy that, though he be not a member of Christ’s Body, he is yet somehow sharing in the benefits of that Communion (salvation), leading him to imagine that delay in conversion is acceptable for the time being. It is important his distinctly seperate present relationship from the Body of Christ, that is, the Catholic Church, be articulated to him ; whereas, a direct participation - even somehwat removed - in the very Holy of Holies and Mysteries of our Faith implies a sharing in those mysteries. This is a false idea, for the Gospel proclaims, “Now is the acceptable time,” and further commands, “Repent, and be baptized, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” The emphasis in on the immediate, and a clear distinction of seperate jurisdictions is made (i.e., God’s Kingdom, vs. the world’s or the devil’s). It is condemnable on the grounds of promoting, directly or indirectly, religious indifferentism.

His religion is false. It cannot give him salvation. Only the Catholic Church can, and membership is necessary. By permitting him to participate in the Holy Mass one actually reduces the possibility of impossible ignorance, for it follows that it is incumbent upon those enlisting his participation insure he have some understanding of exactly what he is participating in.

If there is sin or fault here, it belongs exclusively, in my opinion, on those competent and responsible persons who either permitted or encouraged the practice. If the intent was to further promote it, it would be even more serious. The Hindu man has a right to know what he is being asked to do, and what the Church teaches about these matters.

Pax Christi,

I am aware of the distinction. I said I was not making it up. :wink:

My wife is an choir director/ organist. I know of no requirement that either one be Catholic; though they need to knowledgeable about the Catholic Faith and Liturgy. In one of her earlier jobs she was organist for a non-Catholic choir director. The director relied on her for guidance on the Catholic Faith.

On the other hand, she has worked at times for non-Catholic congregations with no problem. When she was working for an Episcopal parish, the pastor asked her how it was to worship in one place and work in another. She replied that it was easier in some ways; she could separate her work conflicts from her worship. He replied that he could see advantages in that; he and some of the parish were having some big differences. :smiley:

There is Evangelization, and there is worship. The worship is sacred: set aside. Not for everyone. For necessity it may be allowed a non catholic musical director or something like that, but without necessity just for the shake of ecumenism it is fake ecumenism.

In one hand to be Catholic recently 1 or 2 year preparation is required for adults, and 2 years preparation for the born-Catholic baptized as infants for the confirmation. As a contrast to accept non Catholics even non Christians to actively participate in our Holy Sacrament is the degradation of out beliefs related to the membership in the Church.

The judgment about the salvation belongs to God, but this is not about the salvation, this is how we consider the mysteries of our faith. Mystery is secrete, outsiders are excluded. We are not Mormons, outsiders can be spectators, but not participants.

I would not spend one minute worrying about something that happened two years ago, but rather focus all my effort and attention at Mass on the Word of God proclaimed and the sacrifice present on the altar.

Since those preparing to enter the Church can take part in the procession of gifts, no there was probably nothing wrong with this. If it signals a habitual effort to bring non-Catholic students into roles reserved for Catholics in the ministries open to laity–such as reader, altar server, minister of Holy Communion, yes that would be an abuse. However, it is not your problem, but that of the priest in charge. Do not allow worry about these things to detract from your worship and participation in Mass.

From the US GIRM (emphasis added):

  1. At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist the gifts, which will become Christ’s Body and Blood, are brought to the altar.

First, the altar, the Lord’s table, which is the center of the whole Liturgy of the Eucharist,70 is prepared by placing on it the corporal, purificator, Missal, and chalice (unless the chalice is prepared at the credence table).

The offerings are then brought forward. It is praiseworthy for the bread and wine to be presented by the faithful. They are then accepted at an appropriate place by the priest or the deacon and carried to the altar. Even though the faithful no longer bring from their own possessions the bread and wine intended for the liturgy as in the past, nevertheless the rite of carrying up the offerings still retains its force and its spiritual significance.

From Redemptionis Sacramentum (emphasis added):

[70.] The offerings that Christ’s faithful are accustomed to present for the Liturgy of the Eucharist in Holy Mass are not necessarily limited to bread and wine for the eucharistic celebration, but may also include gifts given by the faithful in the form of money or other things for the sake of charity toward the poor. Moreover, external gifts must always be a visible expression of that true gift that God expects from us: a contrite heart, the love of God and neighbour by which we are conformed to the sacrifice of Christ, who offered himself for us. For in the Eucharist, there shines forth most brilliantly that mystery of charity that Jesus brought forth at the Last Supper by washing the feet of the disciples. In order to preserve the dignity of the Sacred Liturgy, in any event, the external offerings should be brought forward in an appropriate manner.

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