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Flag leading procession

Yesterday was Australia Day. The Australian flag was carried in at the beginning of the 11.00 am Mass at the Cathedral in Melbourne.

The man with the flag (wearing a suit and tie) also lead the final procession at the end of Mass.

I do not see this as faithfully following the liturgical books. For example, from the Ceremonial of Bishops:

"128. As the entrance song is being sung, the procession moves from the vesting room (sacristy) to the sanctuary (chancel) in the following order:

-- censerbearer carrying a censer with burning incense;

-- an acolyte carrying the cross, with the image to the front, walks between seven other acolytes, or at least two, carrying candlesticks with lighted candles ..."

The server with the thurible should have lead the procession.

A particular sensitivity with flags is clear from the Order of Christian Funerals:

"132. Any national flags or the flags or insignia of associations to which the deceased belonged are to be removed from the coffin at the entrance of the church. They may be replaced after the coffin has been taken from the church."

It seems to be an open question of whether a national flag should be displayed in the church. (The link to usccb.org/liturgy/q&a/flag discusses this).

But it should not lead the procession.

By J.R. Lilburne, 27 January 2003. Updated 18 June 2004. I give what I have written on this page to the public domain.

Other sites:

usccb.org/liturgy/q&a/flag.htm