I got an email last night from a former colleague, a producer at CBS News:
Hi Greg. I thought you could relate to this. I just sent my pastor an email about today’s Prayer of the Faithful. I was the lector at 12 noon Mass. The second prayer was for journalists, that they “speak and write the truth.” Personally, I was offended and I skipped right over that one.
I’ve never encountered an intention quite like that when I’ve read the intercessions. I have to wonder what motivated it. If I were reading it, and saw that before Mass, I’d ask the pastor about it — and suggest rewriting it.
Among other things, praying that journalists “speak and write the truth” presumes that they ordinarily don’t, and that this is a problem that requires our prayers and God’s intervention. (Another way of offering this intention might be to pray that journalists “stop lying.”)
How about a prayer that lawyers “speak and write the truth”? Maybe we need one for accountants, that they “truthfully prepare this year’s taxes.”
Or how about one for priests, that they “remain faithful to their promise of chastity”?
Here is an intercession I found on Facebook for World Communications Day that, I think, is more appropriate:
Lord we pray that you protect media personnel and journalists who stand up for the truth by speaking the truth. Enable our media personnel be the voice of the voiceless and give a face to the faceless. We ask you to bless all who uphold their Christian ethics by delivering truthful news and information to the people of this nation.
We pray to the Lord –
The GIRM has this to say about this moment in the liturgy:
In the Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful, the people respond in some sense to the Word of God which they have received in faith and, exercising the office of their baptismal Priesthood, offer prayers to God for the salvation of all. It is desirable that there usually be such a form of prayer in Masses celebrated with the people, so that petitions may be offered for holy Church, for those who govern with authority over us, for those weighed down by various needs, for all humanity, and for the salvation of the whole world.
The series of intentions is usually to be:
a) for the needs of the Church;
b) for public authorities and the salvation of the whole world;
c) for those burdened by any kind of difficulty;
d) for the local community.
Nevertheless, in any particular celebration, such as a Confirmation, a Marriage, or at a Funeral, the series of intentions may be concerned more closely with the particular occasion.
It is for the Priest Celebrant to regulate this prayer from the chair. He himself begins it with a brief introduction, by which he calls upon the faithful to pray, and likewise he concludes it with an oration. The intentions announced should be sober, be composed with a wise liberty and in few words, and they should be expressive of the prayer of the entire community.