Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"Outsourcing" prayers and liturgies?

From Saturday's Vancouver Sun:
Catholic churches in Canada are so short of priests they "outsource" hundreds of requests for special masses to priests abroad, especially to India.

Not too many people know about it, but the practice has been going on quietly for decades, says Dean Hoge, co-author of the recently released book International Priests in America.

The novel form of outsourcing eases the burden on the dwindling number of Catholic priests here, and it helps impoverished priests abroad who receive a donation of up to $10 or $15, compared to the 40 rupees, worth about $1 or so, they would get for a similar request in India. . . .

Catholics can request priests to celebrate a mass for a particular cause, perhaps remembering a loved one, asking for help, or giving thanks. For a donation of about $15, the parishioner can have the intention announced on a website or in a church bulletin on a particular date or, for slightly less, he can forego choosing a date and publication. If there are too few priests to carry out the requests within a reasonable time, a bishop may send them off overseas. . . .

The idea of paying a priest to say a mass seems a little odd, but in the early days of the church, it was a priest's only income, said Powers. . . .

Rev. Paul Thelakkat, a Cochin-based spokesman for the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church, told reporters: "The prayer is heartfelt, and every prayer is treated as the same whether it is paid for in dollars, euros or in rupees."

To ensure the ritual is done in a sacred manner, priests are restricted to one mass a day.
I want to say that this is just silly, but for all I know there is a legitimate explanation for this practise that would pass muster by Orthodox standards. Can anyone here illuminate this?

Meanwhile, Lark News has its own take on this sort of thing. :)

1 comment:

Simply Victoria said...

DES MOINES — Last month, Lori Danes, 43, called the prayer line of a major television ministry and requested prayer for her mother's persistent ulcers. But her prayer representative, who called himself "Darren," prayed in a strong Indian accent that "all the gods would bless her mightily."
"I was stunned," Danes says. "It was like I'd called a demon prayer line."

Why is stuff like this so funny?