I am somewhat troubled by the presence of an American flag anywhere in a sanctuary / worship space. This sentiment is especially stark when said flag shares the same space / level as an altar.

I would like to see Christian doctrine / canon / by-laws or some other citation where this is prohibited, if at all.

  • 1
    any specific denomination? Where did you see it occur?
    – depperm
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 15:17
  • catholic view on flags (3rd paragraph might have a reference) usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacred-art-and-music/…
    – depperm
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 15:27
  • @depperm That's what I'm asking. Are there any denominations that prohibit? Since the question assumes an altar, this could be Lutheran, Anglican, Catholic, Episcopalian, Orthodox, etc.
    – Stephen
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 15:29
  • 2
    This is not an opinioned based question: It is asking if any Christian denominations have doctrines in place that prohibit a national flag in their place of worship ? It is either yes or no.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 15:38
  • not entirely related, but the church I go to has a number of flags hanging in the worship space, however they're all different flags, to symbolise "all nations are welcome" rather than some form of nationalism / patriotism.
    – danl
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


For the Catholic Church, there are no universal norms (i.e., neither in Canon Law, nor in the various liturgical books) that prohibit national flags in the sanctuary (i.e., the space where the celebration of the Eucharist actually takes place). As a result, the norms regarding the use of flags, if any, are set by the diocesan bishop.

Generally, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has discouraged the use of national flags (and the U.S. is a country in which flags in the sanctuary have become relatively common), but there is no prohibition as such.

(The source for this is chiefly an article by Edward McNamara, L.C., from Zenit.org. To see the relevant section, scroll down to the paragraph beginning “Several readers asked about….”)

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