Two Masses Over Christmas: Sunday and Monday. One Priest dispensed his people from Sunday Mass. Can he do that?

by Steve Ray on December 4, 2017

The Ray family will happily celebrate Mass on Christmas Eve (Sunday) and Christmas (Monday). Yeah, I know there is a lot going on. I know hams have to cook and presents be presented. But come on … it is the celebration of the birth of Our Savior!

One priest thought he would make it easier on his parishioners and dispense them from the Christmas Eve Mass (Sunday). Oh boy, he made a mistake…

Canon Lawyer Ed Peters addresses the issue in his recent article “What an Invalid Dispensation Looks Like“:

Christmas falls on a Monday this year, so the bis-septennial angst over back-to-back Mass attendance obligations is upon us. The US bishops could have suppressed the Christmas obligation under Canon 1246 § 2 (as they did with Solemnity of Mary, Jan 1) but they chose instead to let it stand. Most practicing Catholics will say, “Fine, two Masses on two days. No big deal.”

Not a pastor in Pennsylvania, however, who is attempting to dispense his parishioners from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass the day before Christmas, via a bulletin notice no less:

“Therefore, by my authority as pastor, I hereby grant a dispensation from the obligation for the Fourth Sunday of Advent in individual cases that meet the following conditions: 1. You are reading this dispensation as an individual right now; 2. You are my canonical parishioner, either by geography or by registration; 3. You place ALL the envelopes for BOTH celebrations in the collection basket at whatever Mass you attend.”

I think “Fr. Penn’s” scheme fails utterly as a dispensation. Let’s see why…

For the rest of the article, click here.

UPDATE: “The Diocese of Pittsburgh has just overruled that purported dispensation. Deo gratias.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tom Govern December 5, 2017 at 10:52 PM

Can’t believe there is even a decision. Catholics probably are the least attended of all the Christian faiths. Mass should never be missed. Perhaps those who object would rather sign up to be Baptists and spend four or more hours on Sunday and another two or three on Wednesday.
Good thing that Jesus did not think that Calvary inconvenienced Him too much and decided to stay away.

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