Beware Mass Produced Goods

Beware Mass Produced Goods

But doesn't that deny Destiny...?
But doesn't that deny Destiny...?
A new law regulating the sale of Catholic mass cards went into effect yesterday. Or almost did, we're waiting to see if the High Court thinks that this section of the Charities Act falls foul of the EU monopoly legislation, of all things.

Under the new law, the Catholic Church will become sole providers of Catholic mass cards. Seems logical, but do they actually have legal copyright on the idea? I think not.

John Curran, the junior minister charged with regulating charities argues that

the tightening up of the legislation ‘will ensure the good faith of people cannot be taken advantage of’

We're all in favour of that surely. Although Curran does not elucidate on what exactly constitutes 'good faith.' Clearly the sellers of  authorised and unauthorised mass cards alike are trading on peoples 'good' (or might we say 'blind'?) faith.

The now illegal cards were distributed in one instance by a chap who

claims to have an arrangement with Most Rev William Pascal Kikoti, Bishop of Mpanda, Tanzania, for signing Mass cards()

Anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with eBay, PayPal, or simply email, will raise an eyebrow when any monetary reference is made to obscure African clergymen providing long distance services.

How fortunate then that from now on

anyone who sells Mass cards, other than by agreement with a bishop or provincial of an order of priests, could be jailed for up to 10 years or fined €300,000.

The bishop's agreement to perform masses for money is of course

in conformity with the theological precepts of the Roman Catholic Church and Canon Law

And has been internally debated and regulated by the Church herself.

The industry of selling masses at a full price and having them performed elsewhere, where the tariff is lower…is forbidden by Pius IX under excommunication reserved to the Holy See in the Bull Apostoliece Sedis 1889(††)

How odd then the strange silence drifting from pious Catholic quarters, normally quite vocal on other public issues such as gay marriage, abortion, atheism etc. The only head to rise above the parapet was that of Catholic communications spokesman Martin Long who claimed baldly that

pre-signed Mass cards are not authentic

So this we may agree: that the purveyors so-called inauthentic mass cards are scurrilously abusing people's superstitions by selling them ineffective prayers wrapped in (generally morbid looking) greeting cards.

The difficulty with this obvious chicanery is that it unearths one further obvious fact: that the Catholic Church, while selling 'authentic' mass cards, are guilty of EXACTLY the same charges as the fakers.

Perhaps this explains their nervous silence? Ahem.


  1. Irish Times Fri 28 Aug 2009 [back ↩]
  2. †† Vol 1 of A History of Auricular Confession and Indulgences in the Latin Church By Henry Charles Lea [back ↩]