Mass cards in focus
The Charities Bill, signed by President McAleese last month, makes it a criminal offence to sell a Mass card that is not authorised by a Catholic bishop. The measure was proposed as a way to stamp out the bogus Mass card business which is peddling in death and grief for profit. In the Irish Times Barney McGuckian SJ traced the custom to people’s contribution of bread and wine for the Eucharist; it was brought up at the offertory procession and the surplus went to the poor. Now they bring coins instead of food, for the maintenance of the church and the priest. Records of Masses offered are kept for inspection by the Bishop.