Can LGBT flags be displayed at a funeral Mass?
In a Nov. 15 interview with ACI Prensa, Father Francisco Torres Ruiz, an expert in liturgy of the Diocese of Plasencia in Spain, explained that “it’s not permissible to put any type of symbology at funeral Masses, especially when that symbology represents ideologies contrary to Christian anthropology, that is, when they are against the faith.”
“What is admitted is, when a head of state or a soldier is buried, who have their own protocol, putting the national flag, the flag of the country, on the coffin. But never a flag that detracts from the sacred place that is a church.”
“Nor can any other symbol or photo of the deceased be placed during the funeral celebration,” he explained, “because in the church the only images, the only photos or icons, are always those of the saints or the diocesan bishop or of the pope, but never that of the deceased who is being buried.”
What could the priest have done?
For Torres, if the placing of the flags had occurred before the start of the Mass, the priest would have had the opportunity to “indicate to the family or the funeral planners that that symbology is strictly prohibited.”
“If ‘treasonously’ they place it during the ceremony, it’s a very forced situation for the priest, because he’s not going to stop a celebration to remove that flag,” he said.
“Although it may perfectly be the case that the priest, during the homily or at any time, makes some observation or orders the family or the organization to remove that symbol. But it is certainly a very forced situation for the priest who has to preside over the celebration,” he noted.
Why is the funeral Mass important for Catholics?
Torres explained that the funeral Mass “is not just another ceremony, but rather it is the last expression of the spiritual motherhood of Holy Mother Church for her children who have passed from this world to the next.”
“Christian funerals are always an action to aid the person who is buried, that is, to implore the eternal rest of the soul of the person” who “may have some type of unforgiven sin or unrepaired guilt.”
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“Then we think that he is in purgatory and what the Church does by offering this Mass is to ask for the purification of that person, for the forgiveness of his sins,” so that he can “enter the kingdom of heaven.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA