Prince E-Mail Exchange

Very interested in your thoughts, dear reader.  Maybe my kind and thoughtful correspondent has me dead to rights…

Dear Fr. Mark,
It was very distressing to hear you quoting Prince lyrics in your homily. As he was apparently a massive drug abuser, rumored bi-sexual and/or roue, and  infamous for sexually explicit lyrics I feel he is not appropriate as a Christian example.

With regard,
Peace be with you,

[name withheld]


Dear —-,

Thank you for your e-mail.  I appreciate your writing to me.

I don’t remember citing Prince as a Christian example, and I don’t think I quoted any sexually explicit lyrics.  (I don’t approve of those.)  I think he was a magnificent artist, and his music has given me great joy over many years.  I have no position on his personal morals, as they are none of my business.

I may very well have expressed myself poorly.  I am sorry to have distressed you.

Love, Fr. Mark


Father White,

Thank you for your response. I suppose we disagree on a ‘see no evil’ approach to words from the pulpit.

God bless you.


3 thoughts on “Prince E-Mail Exchange

  1. My problem was that I was already so very tired of hearing about Prince on the TV 24 hours a day (or so it seemed) when I arrived on Sunday. Although I understood it was some of the lyrics/music that you appreciated, having it in the homily was just too much on top of all the other coverage. I anticipated this would be included before I arrived for Mass, but decided to stay anyway because I value your homilies. Possibly the younger people may have felt differently. Judy R.

  2. Yes, Prince wrote and performed songs that were sexually explicit but that was only a small part of what he was. He wrote and recorded many songs about social issues, finding joy in life and the power of love. In fact, those songs outnumber the more inappropriate ones. Many people may not realize that Prince, like most of us, grew and changed throughout his life. After the death of his baby boy in 1996 Prince became a Jehovah’s Witness. Over the next two decades he grew more devout and altered a lot of his life. Here is an example of his growth from a recent article in Rolling Stone:

    “I remember once I was at Paisley Park. By this time, Prince was a Jehovah’s Witness, and he didn’t stand for cursing. I slipped up. It wasn’t anything too major. I think I said “shit.” Prince had a curse jar; every curse cost a dollar. “But you’re rich,” he said. “Put in $20.”
    “Hey,” I said. “You taught me how to curse when I was little.” People laughed at the joke, but I thought I saw Prince wince a little bit, too, and I walked away wondering if I just confirmed to him that he was justified in taking a hard line. Maybe he actually felt bad that he had turned a generation of kids toward foul language and impure thoughts. I hope not. I was just trying to get out of paying a fine that was justified, for cursing that was probably justified, learned from music that will forever be justified.”

    Read more:

    In my opinion, quoting Prince doesn’t represent “evil”. To many people Prince represents hope for life changing personal and spiritual growth. His words speak to many people on multiple levels and to ignore that or cast it aside because of rumors or his past would be a shame.

  3. A few folks with questionable morals come to mind for me –like prostitutes, Mary Magdalene; or thieves and cheats, like the good thief on the cross and Zaccheus; or the cowardly liars, Peter; and the stubborn and unbelieving, Thomas. Christ loved them and through love he changed them. Prince deserves no less than the love of Christ for which He shed His blood. As for Father singing, I admit I am a fan. I will beg the dear pastor’s forgiveness to question one point in the response: ” I have no position on on his personal morals, as they are none of my business” . I would only offer that to those of us seated in the congregation you represent Christ and the Church, as we do in the domestic church of our homes and as apostles in the world. While it may not be our business and we certainly have to deal with the splinter’s in our own eyes first. Perhaps it is our responsibility to have concern for the direction we offer in our examples and public speech, to that end I agree your lyrics are well chosen, but that at least to the age group in the church who grew up knowing all the words to a number of his hits it is not a stretch, IMHO, that you might have made one or two folks blush in their own memories of a time before they knew Christ a little better.

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