Denied a final Mass?

Paten on chalice bigThere are poignant online reports about another religious and legal angle of the story of the executions in Indonesia. Here is the essential question: Were these three Catholics denied opportunities for a final chance to say confession and take Holy Communion before they were shot by a firing squad?

According to an early report in Asia News in Italy, their spiritual director was able to meet with them for confession the day before they died.

However, the lede on the Indian Catholic story bluntly states:

After their last request for the sacrament of reconciliation was refused, three Catholics who had been convicted of anti-Muslim violence were executed early today near Palu, the capital of Sulawesi province in Indonesia.

Catholic World News has basically the same story. As it turns out, this is based on another Asia News report with many, many more details:

Authorities in Indonesia denied three Catholic men the right to attend Mass on the day before their execution, which was carried out on just after midnight on September 22, the AsiaNews service reports.

Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva were scheduled to face a firing squad on early in the morning of September 21, but their execution was postponed for a day, without any official explanation. Prison officials refused to allow a priest to hear the men's confessions and celebrate Mass for them one last time on Thursday.

The officials' decision -- along with an accompanying decision that the bodies of the three men cannot lie in state in the Paul cathedral-- appears to violate Indonesian law, which stipulates that a prisoner's last wishes should be granted before execution.

It does appear that the delay in the executions was a key element in this decision. However, try to imagine the MSM coverage -- outraged coverage that would be completely valid, by the way -- if a Western government denied Muslim prisoners an essential element of their faith in the hours before their executions. The basic Associated Press report in today's newspapers contains many details about the aftermath of the executions, but does not address the issue of the final denied Mass.

Has anyone seen this detail in the coverage offered by American newspapers and television broadcasts?

Big tip of the GetReligion hat to reader Parick Redmon for alerting me to this issue.

Please respect our Commenting Policy