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The Busted Halo Question Box
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Our readers asked:

Are flags appropriate in Church?

Julianne Wallace Answers:

The USCCB has released a statement regarding flags in Church. Officially, there are no rules regarding state or national flags in the Church and the USCCB leaves it to the local bishop’s discretion on when, or if, to display flags in Church. Remember , in the Liturgy, we celebrate the living, dying and rising of Christ and all the symbols present in our Church and sanctuary lead us deeper into this Paschal Mystery. The presence of a national or state flag does not lead us deeper into the Paschal Mystery of Christ and therefore, its presence in the worship space should be strongly discouraged. At funerals, when a US Flag drapes the coffin, the Rite of Christian Burial says that any flag displayed over the coffin must be removed before the entrance ritual into the Church (no. 38 and 132). There is also an official US Flag Code that states whenever a flag is displayed in a Church it must be in a position of superior prominence (#175 K). The Archdiocese of Los Angeles suggests putting the flag in a vestibule of a Church, where it can have prominence without distracting people from entering more deeply into the Paschal Mystery.

The Author : Julianne Wallace
Julianne E. Wallace is the associate director of faith formation, worship, and ministry at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York. She earned an M.T.S in Word and Worship from the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C. and a B.A. in Music Performance from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. Julianne is passionate about sharing the joy of liturgy with others and helping everyone to worship well.
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