Re: Prayer Content
- Father Robert Lyons writes:
> Thomas,Perhaps it is time to say folks have different views, and leave it at that.
> I am a strong believer that to offer a prayer for something in a liturgical
> capacity indicates an assent to such a thing. That is why, for example, I
> don't think that Churches who do not accept the Immaculate Conception or
> Assumption should commemorate them as liturgical days without altering the
> texts of the prayers and readings to reflect their view on said events.
> That being said, how does that relate to prayers for the armed forces?
> Partially it is because ensuring the saftey of the armed forces who are in
> combat zones is tied in to killing, wounding, or otherwise subjugating the
> people/forces of another nation. I don't feel this is an activity that
> Christians should be involved in.
But I still have some trouble understanding your objections.
I guess the question is why prayers for civil authorities are offered at
all. In your example of a particular liturgical event: sure, I can grasp
why a group wouldn't want to celebrate some event or mystery if they didn't
think it was true. But I just can't see how that applies to prayers for
civil authorities. Surely you accept that civil authorities, including
militaries and other armed forces, actually exist. It seems a strange and
peculiar position to me to suggest that praying for someone or some
institution implies approval of that person or institution. Sure, a prayer
can be crafted with specific approvals, but they often aren't (that seems a
separate, though related discussion).
So, the questions I see are:
Why offer liturgical intercessions at all?
Why pray for civil authorities?
Do we restrict the civil authorities for whom we pray? For example, if we
live in a country with a secular or otherwise non Christian government,
should that government be included in our prayers at all? If we judge the
government to be corrupt or immoral, or even illegitimate, should it be
included? Given that there are no perfect governments, where is the dividing
Once these questions are sorted out, it might be easier, at least for me, to
understand your point of view. I have generally understood, perhaps
erroneously, that prayers were offered for civil authorities in part because
of tradition, and in part because there is a tacit acceptance of the role
and importance of civil leaders in the world, even though, perhaps
especially because, they are concerned about matters other than Christians
concerns. The old render unto Caesar thing and all that. Expanding on that
example, I don't know that Jesus was saying that taxation was good or just,
just that it was the business of the government. Expanding on that idea, it
seems to me that one doesn't have to approve of a government, or armed
security forces for that matter, to acknowledge that they have a pretty
important role in the lives of our communities, and to accept that their
activities are secular business. Not that Christians can't have an opinion
about them or participate in secular affairs, but it they are still secular
From this understanding, it would be easier for me to comprehend prayers to
disarm or disband the armed forcs, or for the government to improve in some
way (at least in the eyes of those writing the prayers) than simply saying
that we shouldn't include them at all because of disagreement with their
activities. Heck, if you can pray for your enemies, shouldn't you at least
be able to pray for the military?
- "I don't see how moving it prevents it from turning it into a social
hour. That problem isn't caused by positioning."
St. Louis, Missouri
-- Maybe I don't
deserve God's love,
but I'm stuck with it,
so I might as well
make the most of it.