QUAERITUR: broadcast/recorded Mass when you can’t attend

I received a question by e-mail:

Dear Father Z,

It’s commonly accepted that shut-ins and invalids who are unable to go to church can fulfill their Sunday obligation by watching a live Mass on TV. It’s that "live" part that is the reason for my writing.

My problem concerns traveling (in my case, required business travel which I’m doing as I write this) and not being able to get to Mass due to scheduling conflicts with airlines, etc. Nor being able to understand the local language anyway since the universal language is no longer used. In those cases, rather than miss it altogether (an "excused absence"?) do you think watching a prerecorded Mass on a TV or PC could count as an honest effort and be just as valid as the live Mass for the invalids? I would use an EF recording, of course, and substitute the correct Propers from my missal for the ones on the video.

First, I appreciate your desire to fulfill your obligations regarding Mass on the necessary days.

However, I need to disabuse you, and everyone else reading this, about a what you say is "commonly accepted".

 

People do not fulfill their Sunday or Holy Day Obligations to attend Mass by watching a recording or transmission of a Mass, regardless if they are shut-ins or not.

If people are impeded from attending Holy Mass for a serious reason, for example they are invalids or they are ill, or even if they are terrified of slipping and falling on the ice during winter, they are excused their obligation.

God does not ask of us what is not possible.

So, watching Mass on TV, etc., can be a holy and pious thing to do, but it does not fulfill the obligation strictly speaking.

As far as traveling is concerned, there are certainly those situations when, for example, you are in a strange place and finding a Mass in the narrow period of time allowed would be a serious difficulty.  In those cases, you are excused your obligation. 

Of course God cannot be fooled.  If you have 8 hours and the church is next to your hotel, and there are three Masses scheduled during that time, you might not have a very good excuse.  I suppose if the Mass is being celebrated in Swahili, and you are psychologically terrified of hearing the Swahili language for some reason, that could be a mitigating factor.  So would the sure knowledge that the dopey priest and his weird staff have scheduled liturgical abuses sure to infuriate you to the point of near occasion of mortal sin.   But I digress.

If people are seriously impeded from attending Mass, their obligation is mitigated.  It is good to want to watch something, and I applaud that.  But let’s understand what is happening.  Language like "just as valid" doesn’t apply.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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68 Responses to QUAERITUR: broadcast/recorded Mass when you can’t attend

  1. Chris says:

    Father, would like your opinion on this:

    Not to start an argument, but my family and I have decided we will not attend another Novus Ordo mass again, unless forced to by a death in the family or a wedding (although we usually just go to the reception).

    Each time we let our guard down, something horrific in the mass happens (an obvious like we can’t kneel to receive the Body of Christ; terrible preaching boarding or heresy; holding our hands up to “bless” the newlyweds while screaming amen!, etc.).

    So, when we are out of town, we do our best to find a traditional Mass and have traveled over an hour one way while on vacation to do so. But when it’s farther than an hour, we don’t go to mass, and confess it when we return.

    My question is, if we are consistenly being put in spiritual harm’s way by attending the Novus Ordo, and we can’t reasonably get to a traditional Mass, is it a sin to miss that Sunday?

  2. willy says:

    well, well, well. I DO have a serious problem regarding the “obligation” of going to mass on Sunday, when the mass celebrated is far to be satisfiying. I mean a NOM mass of course. When the mass doesn’t look like a real sacrifice, but a banquet, a reunion, with lots of blabla before, during and after mass, lack a prayer, altar the size of your bedside table but the Host the size of a big cooky, a soporifique sermon, etc, etc…. etc.. I wonder if the term of obligation is appropriate. [It is entirely appropriate. I suggest you consider what it would be like not to have Mass at all.]

  3. willy says:

    You see ? same comments in the space of 2 minutes ! A lots of NOM actually put us OUT of the Church. We do not have any motivations attending those celebrations. The problem is this feeling is not comming from somebody who doesn’t care about mass in general. But quite the opposite. It is because we CARE indeed that we are disgusted. And a such, i do not see a mortal sin while avoiding a celebration which is… say… far too be satisfying and catholic.

  4. Chris says:

    Yes, it’s always a trainwreck for us. The last time we went to a NO mass just to fulfill our obligation it was in Williamsburg, Va. St. Bedes.

    We get there and it’s a mega church in the round. We go in, everyone’s in shorts and flip flips, and “mass” begins by everyone shaking hands. Then some people walk down to the “one table” which is later in the mass called the “harvest table.”

    Start to finish trainwreck.

    Ever since then, and since the birth of our son, I could never put him or my wife in harm’s way going to a NO Mass.[You know what put’s you in “spiritual harms way”? This sort of generalization. The Novus Ordo can be celebrated with care and reverence according to the books. It is really too bad there is not a single place anywhere near you where Holy Mass isn’t celebrated on terms you find acceptable. But the fact remains that the it is not the fault of the book. It is the fault of the way the book is used.] We just stay at the hotel, try to pray and beg for mercy! [Pray hard.]

  5. Stephen says:

    I began attending the Extraordinary Form of the Mass some time ago principally because I could no longer stand the false teaching, lack of reverence and priest-centred-ness of the Ordinary Form I encountered each week.

    However as the years passed, and having catechised myself fully in the meaning of the Mass, I can now attend the Ordinary Form of the Mass with the same attitude as I do the Extraordinary Form.

    You see, the Mass is the Mass, and perhaps only vague shadows and reflections seem apparant at times, but it is still possible to see those shadows and reflections, a hidden treasure, but treasure none the less. And even if the priest appears to emphasise the more human and novel elements, and fails to highlight the mysteries of our faith, I see the mysteries and I can emphasise them.

    In order for the people and the priests to be brought back to the fullest understanding of the Mass and hold it in reverence, it is necessary for us to attend the Ordinary Form of the Mass and be reverent, sing well, genuflect, kneel, hold silence, adore, worship and to be a sign to our neigbours; it is not their fault: for over 40 years they have had the faith systematically stripped from them and they know not what they do, what to believe.

    I would plead that those of us who attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, each month attend the Ordinary Form at least once, to bring the devotion of the Extraordinary Form to the Ordinary Form.

    To be signs and witnesses in the recovery of the Treasure.

  6. One of the most improving masses that I have ever been at was in Singhalese and was just outside Colombo, Sri Lanka. I didn’t understand a word throughout but knew the shape and texts well enough to be able to participate – see a parallel here?

    Oh and, Father, what does one have to do to be added to your blogroll on here?

  7. Chris:  if we are consistenly being put in spiritual harm’s way by attending the Novus Ordo, and we can’t reasonably get to a traditional Mass, is it a sin to miss that Sunday? 

    You set this up with a condition, namely, that you are being put in “spiritual harm’s way”.  So, I have no idea how to answer that.  You have already put the question in a straight-jacket.

    However, under normal circumstances – and you cannot fool God! – if you can go to a reasonably well-celebrated Novus Ordo Mass, and you avoid going even though you know that you will not fulfill your Mass obligation, then I think you have erred. 

    Sin?  That’s between you and God, but on the face of things I would say, yes, probably.

    Our obligations in the regard are serious.  The Novus Ordo is valid.

    I would say exactly the same thing to a person who doesn’t like the TLM, but has only a TLM available for fulfilling his obligation.

  8. Flambeaux says:

    When I had such questions and concerns, I submitted them to the consideration of my spiritual director. That resolved the matter in so far as it needed to be.

  9. Clayton says:

    if Our Lord could tolerate being scourged and beaten and spat upon and nailed and speared for six hours, I think most of us can tolerate a bad ordinary form Mass every once in a while. quit yer whining and suck it up! [A sad admonition, but a sound one.]

  10. Becky says:

    I am troubled by anyone who tries to justify missing mass due to travel, not the EF, etc, etc…At one time, our family travelled extensively and we always managed to find a mass by checking ahead of time into directions to the nearest Catholic church and the mass times. As far as not attending if only the NO is available…No excuse. The mass is not for our edification. Don’t get me wrong, a beautifully done mass is wonderful but it isn’t necessary. I endure travesties every Sunday in our parish but I remember why I am there & who I have come to worship. He transcends it all. [It remains that there are, at times, reasons why travellers cannot attend Mass.]

  11. Fachtna says:

    Perhaps I have missed something but since when do “invalids and shut-ins” or indeed other incapacitated persons have an OBLIGATION to attend Mass? [you might have missed this whole entry. Perhaps reading from the top would be in order. o{]:¬) ]

  12. I would want to say, more strongly thank FrZ, that attending a badly celebrated Novus Ordo Mass complete with liturgical dancers and all the things that make us cringe, is still better than not attending! The Ordinary Form is valid – the aesthetic may sometimes be less than pleasing but it is still the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass…

  13. joye says:

    masstimes.org, people! They have international listings as well. Depending on the location you can even find English Masses.

    Attending a Mass in a foreign country is such a fantastic opportunity that I can’t believe anyone would want to miss it. You can’t understand what the priest is saying? Most people who attend the EF do not really fluently speak Latin; instead they read a translation. Well, you can print out the English translation of the daily readings etc and do the same thing when attending a Mass in Urdu.

  14. Todd says:

    There is really no excuse now with traveling…use the internet. [Maybe in your neck of the woods. There are places where Mass is pretty hard to find. I think you should avoid statements like “no excuse”. Perhaps in the suburbs of an American city, sure. But try China or Saudi Arabia.]

  15. Gregory: I would want to say, more strongly thank FrZ, that attending a badly celebrated Novus Ordo Mass complete with liturgical dancers and all the things that make us cringe, is still better than not attending! The Ordinary Form is valid – the aesthetic may sometimes be less than pleasing but it is still the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass…

    Yes and no. There are times when the abuses could be so bad that a person could be legitimately morally impeded. However… I repeat what I have said above:

    God cannot be fooled.

    It would be better to tough it out, unless it is so horrific that no reasonable person could recognize it as Mass.

  16. Michael says:

    Whether the TLM, or the NO, well or badly celebrated, at every Mass, the same Sacrifice at Calvary is made present for us. Now, one may rightly bemoan bad homiletics, banal music, liturgical abuses, and self-aggrandizing celebrants… but a valid Mass is a valid Mass, and at every one Christ gives Himself to us in the flesh… that should be motivation enough for all of us to attend Mass, no matter what form it is in.

  17. jd says:

    I do not agree. If you KNOW a Mass is SO offensive, why partake in spitting in the face of our LORD. [WHAT?] Some behaviour is so rude that joining in is accepting it and Jesus would say go to the next town if you can because he wants all his children to be edified and to receive peace. JESUS said to guard the peace in your heart and if people are being this upset at a Mass, this is certainly not what GOD WANTS IN WORSHIP. [I think the Lord scores “obedience” pretty high too.]

  18. Patrick T says:

    I would think that, especially when traveling, it would be very difficult to have any certainty that the 5-10 parishes within reasonable distance are all moral dangers. Chances are very good that at least a few of them are reasonably well celebrated. Of course, there is only one way to find out.

    Michael,

    Well said.

  19. Clayton says: if Our Lord could tolerate being scourged and beaten and spat upon and nailed and speared for six hours, I think most of us can tolerate a bad ordinary form Mass every once in a while. quit yer whining and suck it up!

    I fully agree…unless the Mass is invalid (and that is a rare occurance)…some Saints walked 30 mi to get to Mass I try to go to a couple of parishes that are close by and are Liturgical Abuse free, but if by some means I can’t get to my parishes of choice, I’d much rather suffer a Mass full of Liturgical Abuses than miss Mass at all.

  20. Michael says:

    I understand your point, JD. Still, I do not think one is “spitting in the face of our LORD” by attending a Mass that one doesn’t feel is reverential enough. How many of the disciples declined to stay at our Lord’s side when he was spat upon on the way to Golgotha? He is there at Mass, undeniably present. Wouldn’t it be better for us to be where He is present and give Him homage and reverence even if in the face of indignity? Our Blessed Mother did.

  21. Joel L says:

    It seems that this story from the life of St Francis is apropos.

    “St.Francis was not a reformer; he preached about returning to God and obedience to the Church. Francis must have known about the decay in the Church, but he always showed the Church and its people his utmost respect. When someone told him of a priest living openly with a woman and asked him if that meant the Mass was polluted, Francis went to the priest, knelt before him, and kissed his hands — because those hands had held God.”

    I think of this and am humbled whenever I feel that something is not being done right or as reverently as I would like.

  22. jd says:

    And many saints have said that when the Mass is valid, but if the priest celebrating isn’t Holy and saintly, the graces received are not the same or as abundant. [Oh? Quotes, please.] Is it not then good to receive graces? AND ARE NOT GRACES EDIFYING?… so what is all this talk about a Mass not about we,[ the body of CHRIST,] being edified? Everything we do and say is (according to HOLY SCRIPTURE )is suppose to be edifying.

  23. Chris says:

    Thanks father for the guidance. Appreciate it.

    For the gentlemen that told me to “suck it up,” I expect nothing less from someone who would attend a NO mass, which is why I avoid it.

    Sorry, had to say it :)

  24. jcd says:

    Everytime people want the church holier and better, that St.Francis quote is used. Perhaps that is one reason so many children and adults were raped .

  25. Gregor says:

    Perhaps a a recommendation by JRR Tolkien can contribute here:

    “Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.”

    J.R.R. Tolkien, letter to his son, Michael Tolkien, dated November 1, 1963; read the entire, moving letter here: http://vocatum.blogspot.com/2008/01/jrr-tolkien-on-eucharist.html

    [Beautiful. I corresponded with “the Professor” before he died.]

  26. Howard says:

    Perhaps I’ve been particularly blessed, but although I’ve been to countless bland Masses, many Masses where the book isn’t followed (e.g., of the last 2 I attended at one church here, the Mass for the Assumption skipped the Nicene Creed, and the one before that skipped the Psalms), and many others where it requires an heroic act of charity to find non-heretical interpretations of the priest’s homily or of the “hymns” (e.g., Father didn’t actually say that there was no miracle in the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, he merely implied it by noting that “some Scripture scholars” believe this and by failing to counter their assertion)– in spite of all that, I’ve never been to a Mass where I felt I must leave immediately. But if I ever found myself in a “clown mass” or an obnoxious mass with scary, giant puppets, I would have to leave, even if I new I could not make it to any proper Mass; I have to believe there comes a point, not easily achieved, where the deliberate blasphemy becomes too great.

    Perhaps as an act of penance, I should now diagram that first sentence!

  27. Clayton says:

    >>For the gentlemen that told me to “suck it up,” I expect nothing less from someone who would attend a NO mass, which is why I avoid it.

    Chris, if you are the original writer of the question, I’m not particularly addressing you. The original question was a good one.

    If you’re the fourth poster, the one who called the usual NO Mass a ‘trainwreck’, then let me say just this. Yes, NO Masses are quite often train wrecks and very often I squirm uncomfortably through them and often find myself running to the nearest TLM ASAP. It IS sad (as Fr. Z noted) that I had to say what I said about just sucking it up and bearing through a disordered liturgy. But it’s an opportunity to join your suffering to Christ’s, and should we not always jump at an opportunity to do so?

    As many have already said, the NO is a valid Mass unless any *terribly gross* abuse occurs. It may be painful. But that’s life.

    I’ll pray for you. Please pray for me.

  28. william says:

    Is Tolkien a SAINT? And the feeding wasn’t a MASS OR A CHURCH WORSHIP.

  29. joye says:

    Chris: For the gentlemen that told me to “suck it up,” I expect nothing less from someone who would attend a NO mass, which is why I avoid it.

    Sorry, had to say it :)

    What.

    The smiley face is really the cherry on the passive-aggressive cake.

    But what do I know? I attend an NO Mass. Shun me! SHUN THE TAINTED ONE! SHUN!

  30. Ray Marshall says:

    Even with masstimes.org it is difficult to find a good Mass.

    I suggest you look for a parish that offers reconciliation more than once, has Eucharistic Adoration, novenas, shrines, etc.

    And schedule your vacations where there is a good parish.

  31. Maureen says:

    We have many opportunities to suffer for Christ, and martyrdom should not be one of them. Neither should rape, or cancer, or any of the other things that wouldn’t happen in an unfallen world. But sometimes we don’t have the choices we would like to have. At those moments, we can’t always conform our will to Christ’s enough to be happy to suffer. But we can be obedient.

    Missing Mass on Sunday just because it’s an annoying Mass — that’s disobedient. There is always going to be something or someone annoying, and I’m probably the most annoying liturgical abuse of all. But I can’t control what other people do or don’t do, as I learned back when I was at the “But Mom, he’s poking me!” stage. I can only obey Jesus myself, or choose not to obey. And if your mom doesn’t take “he started it!” as an excuse, I don’t see how you’d think God will.

    If you want to see a Mass that’s really blasphemous and heretical and stuff like that, there’s a lot worse than Our Lady of the Suburbs. As I’m sure that certain occultists could demonstrate to you. Probably on YouTube.

    And if the look of the Mass offends thee, close your eyes. And if the lame music offends thee, there’s nothing in the rubrics that says you can’t bring earplugs. Indeed, with all the folks who like silent Masses, you’d think everybody’d wear ‘em. But aesthetics are no excuse for missing Mass on purpose. Missing Mass is for sulky teenagers.

  32. Sam Schmitt says:

    “We HAVE many opportunities to suffer for Christ, and Mass should not be one of them.”

    So you’re willing to take up your cross, but only if it doesn’t disagree with you? “Lord, it’s OK if I have crosses in life – but please, only the ones I prefer!”

  33. Maureen says:

    Oh, and about the extra graces from holy priests?

    They’re EXTRA. A lagniappe. Nice, yes, but nothing compared to the graces received from the ordinary Mass said by a schlub or a dissenter. You should thank God that He deigns to give us even that much.

    If you get something extra, that’s wonderful! But if you get only what is needful, that is more grace than any saint could deserve! Yes, we should strive for the best. But it’s not better to starve ourselves of graces, on purpose, and feel righteous about it. There are Catholics in many places who cannot get Mass at all. While the martyrs starve, we are ungrateful that God feeds us His Lamb.

  34. Stephen: I can now attend the Ordinary Form of the Mass with the same attitude as I do the Extraordinary Form. ….. In order for the people and the priests to be brought back to the fullest understanding of the Mass and hold it in reverence, it is necessary for us to attend the Ordinary Form of the Mass and be reverent, sing well, genuflect, kneel, hold silence, adore, worship and to be a sign to our neigbours …..To be signs and witnesses in the recovery of the Treasure.

    If WDTPRS had a “Gold Star Award” — the diametric opposite of the coveted “Sour Grapes Award” — I would nominate your post for it.

  35. Michael says:

    The fact remains that we are obligated to attend Mass on Sundays. It is the first of the six Commandments of the Church.

    All of us would prefer a Mass well sung and would go out of our way to find one, I’m positive. But faced with the sad choice of attending a Mass poorly (and irreverently) celebrated or not attending Mass at all (which was the original question posed on this thread), I still feel strongly that we should be very mindful of Who it is who invites us to meet Him at Mass. At the end of this life, when the Lord asks us why we did not come to meet Him when we knew He was there, we had better have a better answer than “I didn’t like the venue.”

  36. I would strongly advise to be cautious when using http://www.masstimes.org
    The information is poorly presented. E.g.: You are asked for your zip code or phone number (usually available on the hotel phone) and then it lists locations ranked in order of distances which are invariably wrong. The zip code method will give different results than the phone number method.

    Worst of all the info is very much out of date. I’ve missed Mass using MassTimes.org because the mass times changed. On one occasion, I blew $150 in cab fare only to find the church was no longer there!

    Calling ahead is a great idea but difficult for an on demand pilot who doesn’t know where he’ll spend the night. Still despite evening check-ins and morning departures from strange places, I almost always make my obligations when traveling.
    Besides, I get to tell great horror stories regarding what I saw at the last Ordinary Form Mass to the crowd that meets for coffee & doughnuts after the TLM.

  37. Mary Bruno says:

    Chris

    I suggest you use Mass times and then look up the websites of individual parishes. This is one way you can tell if the masses are up to date. You can get an idea of what the parish is like when you read their website. We\’ve enjoyed going to mass while on vacation. I try to find a parish that is similar to our home parish which is NOM, but is not a \”trainwreck.\”

    While online prior to our last vacation I found one parish that would\’ve been too far out there for my comfort level. Wearing name tags is not what I want to do at mass for example. And by reading about the parish groups you can also get an idea of what they are like if you see support for the gay lifestyle, etc.

    To be honest I have attended masses away from home that were not as reverent as I would like, but they were not \”trainwrecks.\” I know Eucharistic Ministers of Holy Communion shouldn\’t give blessings. I saw people dressed much less formal than we dress, etc. But I did not see anything that would make me want to run out of the church. I\’ve also come across the Grotto in Emmitsville Maryland that was a lovely NOM that use Latin during the mass and the mass was packed with very devoted and more orthodox people. http://www.msmary.edu/grotto/index.html We were actually staying in PA, but went into Maryland for mass.

    I try to make mass part of the fun of the vacation. No matter where we\’ve gone my daughter usually likes our home mass better. I guess there\’s just \”no place like home.\”

  38. mom in baltimore says:

    Stephen: Thank you for I can now attend the Ordinary Form of the Mass with the same attitude as I do the Extraordinary Form. ….. In order for the people and the priests to be brought back to the fullest understanding of the Mass and hold it in reverence, it is necessary for us to attend the Ordinary Form of the Mass and be reverent, sing well, genuflect, kneel, hold silence, adore, worship and to be a sign to our neigbours …..To be signs and witnesses in the recovery of the Treasure.

    I am a recent convert and attend the NO mass (I’m still too intimidated to attend EF mass). I still have so much to learn and appreciate people like you who can make the sacrifice and attend the NO mass every once in a while. You may not know it, but there are people like me – spiritual infants – who are watching and learning from you. Please don’t forget us newbies. Thank you! :)

  39. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Sorry for this long post.

    Chris,
    Having been in your shoes and done exactly what you are doing, I can tell you first hand that you are putting yourself in harm’s way by not attending the N.O. Mass, even when its dreadful.

    I am devoted to the old Mass. I understand your sorrow and bewilderment and anger. I am very familiar with what the Mass is and how abused it can be.

    In my early youth, my intelligent mother in despair over the terrible changes, took us to a local parish here not affiliated with the bishop. This was early in the days when there weren’t even indult Masses – and no ‘hindsight’ to know what to do or have proper perspective. The parish was owned by laity who also searched for priests to come and say the old Mass. Eventually, we got one priest who turned out to be not a priest at all but a con artist. We’d been attending his “mass”, going to confession to him. Everything. He took our money! He was a liar! This is what one risks when one separates from a God-given bishop, no matter how ‘goofy’ we think he is. We then fled to the Byzantines, though over an hour away.

    With this chaos, after a disturbing New Mass, we’d stomp out of Masses during heretical sermons, and whatnot. My angry mother would excoriate unknown priests on the way out after Masses, as he might haplessly offer a hand in greeting. The anguish we felt was tremendous. But no excuse for playing “pope”.

    By the time I got to college, due to this upbringing, I did not attend the N.O. believing it was a sin to attend. Only when I came home did I attend the Byzantine rite on Sundays. I never gave anybody a chance. Never wanted anything to do with regular Catholics. My pride, blindness and stiff-necked attitude bewilders me to this day.

    I became completely unmoored. Although I was devout and a deeply religious person, having studied the Mass, read apologetics on my own, said the rosary daily, studied the Imitation of Christ – all that, I was unable to overcome the simple separation from the Church. In spite of my righteous [erroneous] belief that this Mass was an occasion of sin, separating myself was my real downfall.

    That “sin darkens the intellect” is no exaggeration.

    I spent years and years of my life slowly becoming progressively more sinful until my life culminated in a ten-year onslaught of outright scandalous behavior. And unbelievably, in hindsight I see, I thought I was a good Catholic! In hindsight I cringe and wonder “what was I thinking”.

    What I learned is that simple [excruciating] obedience trumps everything.

    Also, the visible Church of ordained men is a huge gift that we must not scorn, no matter what their behavior.

    We are not in charge. We are not the magisterium. We have no authority to declare what is valid, what Mass is pleasing [tho we can certainly question]. What has happened to the Mass is not our fault. When a priest misbehaves at a Mass, we aren’t responsible. What we must do is our obligation to the best of our ability, find the best we can, and leave the rest to God. I eventually learned to stand at the Foot of the Cross with the Blessed Mother and regard Christ in His suffering. Who am I to leave Him at a time like this?

    I am uncomfortable revealing these things but I am afraid for anyone who might travel the road that I did. Your post frightens me enough to write this.

    Further, I travel frequently into the Richmond diocese and suffer what you witnessed too. In the South the congregations “greet” each other and are oddly social at the most inappropriate times. [wannabe Baptists?] Yet they don’t seem to notice the Consecration. I commiserate with you – its pretty yucky! The most recent Mass a few weeks ago, I left so furious, I was shaking. But that’s pride. I must remember God is in charge, not me. I laughed later and told my husband this makes me so grateful for the Masses here in the Arlington Diocese, maybe that’s what it takes. Those poor unfed sheep down there!

  40. Margaret says:

    I will second the kudos and caution for masstimes.org: Trust, but verify. My son and I recently attended a 5PM Sunday Mass at a nearby parish we’d never attended before. Masstimes.org failed to note that that particular Mass is celebrated in Vietnamese. It was fascinating, actually– nearly everything was “chanted” but in a sing-songy, not Gregorian sense of the word. The only two words I recognized were “Amen” and “Alleluia.” And, my eight-year-old son was extremely impressed when I pulled out my PDA and opened up Mobile Gabriel so we could look at the readings together. On the drive home, he commented, “I didn’t know your Palm Pilot could TRANSLATE from Vietnamese into English like that!!!” :-)

  41. Greg Hessel in Arlington Diocese says:

    Tina in Ashburn,

    Was that parish called St Athanasius? I remember attending there when Fr Ringrose first came back in 1982 and Mass was basically celebrated in the garage of the house.

  42. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Greg Hessel
    Oh yeeeeah. That’s the place! It has quite a colorful history. We were gone long before Fr Ringrose.

  43. rcesq says:

    When you’re in a foreign country by all means go to Mass! Nothing else will make you feel more like a local and you’ll learn to appreciate the universality of the Church. We’ve been to Mass all over Western and Eastern Europe as well as in Egypt, China, India, and Turkey, and each place showed us the great variety of ways in which we can worship the Lord, yet still be one people of God. When you’re the only foreigner it’s amazing how kind and welcoming your fellow Catholics can be — and how well you can communicate with older folks in a few broken words of Church Latin. Hotel concierges or tourist information services usually know the location of at least one Roman Catholic Church and will be very helpful in getting the times of Mass. Really, the Lord is giving you the luxury of being able to take a vacation or seeing the world, so don’t you owe Him the time to say thank you?

    So what if you don’t understand the vernacular? If you’ve been to Mass regularly you should know it well enough to tell what’s going on. To make it more accessible, if you’re not equipped with PDA technology like Margaret (above), subscribe to the monthly Magnificat, which you can tuck into your pocket and follow along with the Mass of the day.

    As for an objection about aesthetics’ putting you off — instead of saying “suck it up” I’d suggest “offering it up.” Jesus was made to suffer but He asked for forgiveness for those who know not what they do. He didn’t stomp off in a huff or say that His sensibilities were so offended by the bad manners that He wouldn’t break bread with “those people.” As Pope Benedict noted, the Novus Ordo is the ordinary rite of the Mass. So like it or not, we shouldn’t be able to duck our Sunday Mass obligation by saying we won’t attend the NO.

  44. FrZ – “There are times when the abuses could be so bad that a person could be legitimately morally impeded.”

    Yes, but rarely does one know if these abuses are to occur before attending and rarely do they make the Mass irregular, let alone invalid. [God cannot be fooled.] I think the key is to point out that 99.9% of the time, a poorly celebrated Mass – OF or EF – is better than none. I would worry that some people would think it appropriate not to attend Mass merely because they dislike singing “Sing a New Church into being”… I can understand the temptation, but it is still the Mass!

    Would you advise attending SSPX ceremonies if there is no Mass celebrated by a priest in full communion with the Holy See available?

  45. Greg Hessel in Arlington Diocese says:

    Here’s a story for you…

    I just got back from vacation on Chincoteague island (diocese of Richmond) and I had no idea of what to expect for Sunday Mass at the tiny Church (knowing how bad the Diocese of Richmond can be). Well, lo and behold, I struck gold!!! The priest turned out to be the old, retired Father Paschal Kneip, OSB (ordained 1951) who started the traditionalist community St Benedict’s in Chesapeake, VA back in the day. He came out for Mass with his white hair and horned-rimmed glasses like it was still 1955 and gave a kick-ass sermon. Long live Father Paschal Kneip, OSB – a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech!!!

  46. Avus says:

    OK, I’ll ‘fess up, I wrote the email to Father Z. Why am I telling you that? Because I’m appalled and disgusted with nearly all of the comments. Father perfectly understood my question and answered it, for which I am grateful. But everyone else immediately missed the point and turned it into yet another opportunity to outdo each other in bashing the Ordinary Form.

    You can’t go to Mass unless you’re on the ground. My concern was strictly about flight schedules and such which prevent that basic requirement. Although I expressed an understandable preference for the EF, nowhere in my note did I indicate any unwillingness to attend the OF, which in fact I did during the week although not understanding a word (there’s a funny story there but I won’t get into it). So I was asking about the validity of an alternative. But many of you instead used my note to go straight for the jugular of the OF.

    Let me set the record straight. While I love the EF, I totally accept the complete and unquestionable validity and licitness of the OF. To do otherwise would mean I’ve wasted four decades of my life in useless prayers at Masses and devotions, nor had Jesus within me through Communion all that time. I couldn’t live with that knowledge.

    So, please, either restrict comments to my original question about video alternatives to fully valid inability to attend Mass (any Mass!) in person, or go find another thread to vent your spleen about the OF.

  47. Mary Firiel says:

    “You can’t go to Mass unless you’re on the ground.”

    That gives me a cool idea! Mass on a plane! (reverently celebrated of course) Has that ever happened?

  48. Theca says:

    I heard recently that people can ask their priest in advance for a dispensation if there is a Sunday where one is expecting great difficulty or impossibility of getting to mass. Is that necessary, or is it better to just try as hard as possible to make it to mass, just in case the circumstances permit? I had to admit I wondered about the possibility of the particular priest being asked for a dispensation to say no, that cruise or that 24 hour flight on a Sunday should just be given up on rather than miss mass. Quite a sacrifice. Or maybe the dispensations are for fluffier, more iffy reasons?

  49. Avus: We have to have patience. Some people, still very wounded, still don”t know how to self-edit.

    Alas, many people who post here with such knee-jerk comments have a sort of ecclesiological Tourette’s Syndrome. It is as if they cannot help it after these years and years and years of abuse.

  50. Geoffrey says:

    Avus: Your follow-up comment is the best comment here. Thank you!

  51. Chris says:

    Father: “There are times when the abuses could be so bad that a person could be legitimately morally impeded. However…”

    This was the original reason why I asked my question — not to start a fight over the new mass. I don’t go to the new mass and I don’t need others to say that’s OK. I know it’s OK. And the question about the TV mass seemed an easy one to answer which was why no one was commenting at first, so I posed my question which seemed a little more challenging and one that many of my traditional friends struggle with.

    Back to my question: it’s those abuses, Father, that cause me such problems when I’m forced to go to a new mass for either a wedding or a funeral. Maybe I’m weak and not strong enough to ignore women on the altar, communion in the hand, churches in the round, near heresy from the pulpit (or blatant heresy). Maybe you all are stronger and can focus on the sacrifice and tune everything else out. I cannot, and I know I cannot. Therefore, when traveling and more than an hour away from a traditional Mass, I stay home and read my (’45) Missal. And it’s not because of one bad experience — it’s because nearly all of my experiences were bad to horrible.

    My last few new masses within the last two years: my aunt and grandfather being proclaimed saints and in heaven at their funerals with no calls for prayers for the repose of their souls; having people circle around the altar holding hands during the consecration; being told, twice, during a wedding to lift our hands in the air and “bless” the couple while “yelling” Amen “loud enough for God to hear.”

    Over and over we were forced to swallow this. Now that we have a child, we’re not going to spend time explaining to him the crisis in the church just to avoid missing mass maybe once a year. I don’t want him to know about the crisis for as long as possible and feel the anger I feel (and I’m not going to teach him the new mass is fine just because it’s valid if done by the books which it rarely is). And that’s why I say maybe I’m weak — because I can’t get past the anger when I go to the new mass. And that’s why I avoid it.

    So, anyone who took my original post — which simply asked Father what his respected opinion was on Sunday obligation when you can’t find a traditional Mass fairly close by — as an attack on the new mass, it wasn’t. I’m well beyond that stage of my life where I waste time arguing about the new mass.

    Father, thanks again for your opinion — and your patience. I hope you and the others on this blog can go back to my original post and try to see, with charity, the spirit of the intention.

    Pax. Chris.

  52. jasmine tea says:

    Please remember the Church in Japan in your prayers.

    I was blessed to get a job that, although it is located in a small town stretched over lonely mountains in the extreme countryside, is only a 30-minute drive away from a small Catholic church with a few elderly parishioners. There are no kneelers and no one (else) kneels for the Consecration, but Mass is celebrated every Sunday. It took a few days of hunting the internet before I finally caught a rumor of its existence, but the Lord was merciful!

    In the last few days there has been some talk of restricting the use of my (public) car to work-related activities only, as part of an effort to use public resources more responsibly, so I need prayers as well. God bless!

  53. Fr. Pat says:

    Two things should be separated. The intention of a person to fulfill their obligation and the validity of the Mass. From a moral viewpoint a faithful Catholic must set aside time on Sunday to pray with the body of Christ united and led by the bishop (or priest) in the eucharist. If a person “genuinely” seeks to fulfill this obligation an discovers that they have attended an invalid Mass (and they are unable because of time or distance to attend a valid Mass) then they have not broken God’s commands and are not morally culpable as compared to someone who deliberately chooses not to attend.

    It should be strongly noted that a priest’s holiness does not affect the validity of the Mass or the graces that can be received. People wrestled with this question back in the fifth and sixth century. A group of Christians, known as the Donatists argued that the validity of the sacraments were affected by flawed priests. This is known as: ex opere operantis, that is, that the validity of the sacrament depends upon the worthiness and holiness of the minister confecting it. The Church in her wisdom recognized the power of God transcends humanity and holds the position: ex opere operatos, that the validity of the sacrament depends upon the holiness of God, while the minister of the sacrament is a simply an instrument of God’s work. Therefore, any priest or bishop, regardless of their personal moral state, truly effects a valid sacrament if they use the proper formula of the sacrament with valid matter and have the intent of causing the sacrament.

  54. Athelstane says:

    I intended to post Tolkien’s letter as well – but I’m pleased to see someone beat me to it.

    And I’m pleased (pleasantly surprised) to hear Fr. Z corresponded with the great man.

    I would say the only way a bad NO is not fulfilling the Sunday oblgation is if the mass itself is invalid – most likely because the words of institution are wrong. You’re less likely to be able to detect other possibilities.

    Sometimes travel does make it impossible to make it, as it did for me this summer when was travelling to Europe on a Saturday evening/Sunday morning with long layover times. But it is also possible to minimize by doing your research ahead of time, too.

  55. sacertodale says:

    This is surely a post I can identify with!

    It seems to me, however, that the problem is much less a “vacation” problem (can’t we stand just about anything for 1 hour?) than a day to day one. I grew up in a pretty good N.O. parish, but eventually the Bishop put in a pastor who methodically ruined the place with “change for the sake of change,” dog-dish altar vessels, wicker basket ciboria, etc. There are four other parishes within reasonable driving distance. Two are “grade C average/bland,” one is “off to the left” and the fourth is “Old Time Religion, But You’d Better Like It Our Way.” At any of them, the best I can reliably count on is a Mass that ranges from desultory to abusive, with a “cast of thousands” milling about the sanctuary, prayers said without reverence, and so forth.

    Thanks be to God, about 25 years ago I found a parish about 30-40 minutes away with a wonderful, holy priest, who helped me tremendously in my spiritual life. When he retired, a new “leftie” pastor came in, and started the decline to beneath-mediocrity. In the meantime, I started working with a group of missionary nuns, and have attended Mass there almost exclusively for the last 15 years. Not perfect every time, but truly the “rich fare” of which Scripture speaks. I fear for the day when I might have to move to a new area where they do not have a house.

    In my view, the EF is no guarantee. I went to the earliest indult Masses, which were mighty “creaky”; later I went again and found that just as my recollection was settling in, someone decided we should all sing in bad latin and off key; more recently, while the EF is readily available in my area, I have the impression that many of the priests who celebrate it are as “all about themselves” as any NO abuser.

    I have been to Mass all over the world, and I thank God there was a church and a priest there. I have had to travel miles in Europe to find a parish with a Mass, not a communion service. Not always great, and sometimes lousy, but again, I guess I can stand most anything for an hour. I have the dubious “honor” of having gone once to an All Saints Day Mass celebrated by none other than Charles Curran. Afterward, I went to a parish Mass so I’d know I fulfilled my obligation. What did I get — a “kid’s Mass.”

    So I guess the question I pose is this: what is one to do if all of the options locally available are at best spiritually blase, and at worst abusive of the rite? What is one to do if one is trying to bring others to the faith, and the local pastor(s) deny them baptism on grounds of an objective “irregular situation” that is subjectively insignificant?

  56. anamericanmother says:

    As a recent convert from the lunacy that is the Episcopal Church, I’ll just put my two cents in —

    Our home parish is Ordinary Form but celebrated with reverence and devotion. There are a few occasional hippie hymns but the music is generally excellent and traditional. Once a month we chant the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin. Our new parochial vicar chants much of the prefaces, etc. in Latin on that Sunday as well. The homilies are as orthodox as they can be. Adoration, First Fridays, etc.

    So it CAN be done. Don’t despair.

    We do live in a major metro, so we have a choice which many in more rural situations may not. And from fulfilling my Sunday obligation elsewhere while at dog trials, I know there are some way out parishes out there. We also have an FSSP parish though.

    I have been made uncomfortable by some things I’ve seen and heard elsewhere (the loincloth clad Mexican drummers and flautists in the sanctuary on the feast of the Virgen de Guadalupe, the ‘high fiving’ around the altar in a ‘church in the round’, insistent ladies physically grabbing my hands for the “Our Father”) – but I found I could mentally roll my eyes JUST a little and then ‘offer it up’.

    Please, please, appreciate what ALL Catholics DO have, compared to the heretical train wreck we escaped from!!!!

  57. Chris says:

    Fr. Pat: It should be strongly noted that a priest’s holiness does not affect the validity of the Mass or the graces that can be received.

    Fr. Chad Ripperger, F.S.S.P., took this stance in Latin Mass Magazine in 2001: “It is necessary for the priest to remind himself constantly of his sinfulness and his proclivity to evil so that he will be motivated to root the sin out of his life. It is also necessary for the priest to do this so that he recognizes his unworthiness to offer the sacrifice and the need to strive for purity and holiness in order to offer it worthily. Since the first step toward sanctified perfection is to be aware of and admit to one’s own sinfulness, these prayers are highly important for the spiritual lives of priests. None of us who are aware of the scandals and sins associated with priests over the past forty years should desire that these prayers be taken out of the offertory or Mass. The laity must desire that the priest be sinless, and one of the ways that is facilitated is by recognizing in the prayers at Mass that he is offering this sacrifice not only for the people but also for himself. If a priest has a sensitive conscience and knows that he must remain pure for the sake of offering the sacrifice, then he merits more graces from God for the people.

    “Today people say that as long as the Mass is valid, the state of the priest does not really matter. While it is true that a priest does not have to be in the state of grace to offer the Mass validly, nevertheless, he has an obligation to be as holy as possible in order to merit more for those under his pastoral care.”

  58. Baron Korf says:

    “All the good works in the world are not equal to the holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison, for it is but the sacrifice of man to God; but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man.”
    – The Cure d’Ars

    Regardless of how disobediently or irreverently some may worship, the source and summit of the whole litrugy is an act of God, not man; man by his own power can not confect the Body and Blood of Christ. As such, the Grace from the most reverential EF mass and the most banal OF mass are the same. They both contain the infinite and transcendent Grace of the sacrifice of Calvary at the words “This is my Body” and “This is my Blood”. The difference between banal and reverential masses, regardless of form, is how well those in charge of offering the mass are performing their duty. Obviously, reverential masses are preferred because they better fulfill the duty of worshiping God, edify the laity, help catechize them properly, etc.

    But back to the original topic. While you can’t attend mass via radio, television, or internet, you can still recieve certain graces from blessings and the like. Back when radio was starting to gain popularity, the question was posed to the Pope, I don’t remember which one, about those who hear his apostolic blessing over the radio. The ruling was, and still is, that if you hear the blessing LIVE, it counts. So a re-run, or recording won’t do, but if you watch a mass live, you can still recieve the blessing from the celebrant. Likewise with the Pope whenever he offers a blessing.

  59. Derik Castillo says:

    After reading Romans 15:1 and prayer, I decided to offer my sufferings when attending irreverent Mass out of necessity.

    Rom 15:1
    Now we who are strong ought to be patient with the weaknesses of those who are not strong and must stop pleasing ourselves.

    Debemus autem nos fir miores imbecillitates infir morum sustinere et non nobis placere. (the latin word imbecillus is very similar to the spanish word imbécil, which always makes me smile).

  60. Father Totton says:

    Being a priest, I have not been subjected to bad Masses in some time. When I travel, I usually celebrate privately. When I can, I like to do so in a Church. What I have encountered, even in the Eternal City, are churches ill-equipped even for Mass in the ordinary form. Churches which provide napkins (the non-absorbent polyester type) as “purificators” and in which nary a pall is to be found. I gave up on the chalice veil long ago (when traveling) but a pall should be used lest some foreign matter drift and conmingle with the Precious Blood. I have encountered sacristies with several worn and DIRTY albs – I learned to bring my own. I often bring a cincture (because they too are rare) and an amice (forget about it!)

    I must say, I have always been impressed by the sacristies of Opus Dei. Wherever I have gone – parish churhces, private chapels, the tomb of St. Josemaria – they had everything necessary for the Mass and it was meticulously cleaned, pressed, folded and presented as a means of hospitality (shown to the celebrant) and a reverent love for our Lord in the Sacred Liturgy.

    One final note, I can think of one instance where a traveler’s dispensation would have come in handy. I know a group of pilgrims who departed U.S. soil on a Saturday afternoon for WYD and did not arrive in Sydney until Monday Morning!

    It used to be a special dispensation (from the HOly See) was required to say Mass on a ship at sea – to ensure stability of the SAcred elements. I imagine such would be even more important on a train or an airplane.

  61. Michael J says:

    It is interesting to note that this entire debate is framed in terms of personal preference. A completely irreverently celebrated Mass, it seems, excuses the Sunday Obligation. If one can be found that is “moderately reverent” then the abuses should be tolerated and the pain experienced should be “offered up”.

    I cannot speak for anyone else, but what I “like” or “dislike” has nothing at all to do with my decision to never again attend a Mass celebrated in the Ordinary Form. I have no doubst about the validity of the Ordinary Form it certainly is valid, and I have no doubts about the Graces available, but I do not attend Mass because of what I “get”.

    I attend Mass, first and foremost because worship is Gods due. I cannot in good conscience attend a Mass that offers Him less than the best we are able to provide. Yes, I understand that the Sacrifice itself is of infinite value, but we are also required to give him our Adoration and Thanksgiving. I cannot do that, at least to the best of my ability, at an Ordinary Form Mass.

  62. Jayna says:

    Stephen: In order for the people and the priests to be brought back to the fullest understanding of the Mass and hold it in reverence, it is necessary for us to attend the Ordinary Form of the Mass and be reverent, sing well, genuflect, kneel, hold silence, adore, worship and to be a sign to our neigbours.

    Hear, hear. The OF is the only Mass I am able to attend on a regular basis, I simply do not have the money to pay for the gas that would be required to drive down to the FSSP parish we have here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. And, for the most part, I have nothing against the OF if it’s done correctly, which in my parish it is on weekdays but not on Sundays. Frankly, I would rather attend a badly celebrated OF Mass, annoyed though I may be, than no Mass at all. And it is possible, as Stephen so eloquently said, to maintain your own form of reverence, even if the rest of the congregation is not doing so, and to hope that perhaps they may learn from your example. I find this to be the case when going to Mass with one of my younger cousins (she’s 17). I have noticed from time to time that she looks to me to see how I am behaving, what my posture is and so on. It may only be one or two people you affect, but imagine if we all could do that and then pray that those we have affected then pass it on. It does us no good to segregate ourselves from those who simply may not know that there is something better. Brick by brick, my friends, brick by brick.

  63. Patrick T says:

    Chris wrote: “and I’m not going to teach him the new mass is fine just because it’s valid if done by the books”

    This is truly disturbing. I will pray for you and your son. The bitterness you exhibit in your posts must be quite a burden.

    Isn’t it worth it to risk getting angry in order to fulfill your grave obligation to attend Sunday Mass? And how do you know that a church to which you have never been, will offer a Mass filled with abuse? Isn’t it worth it to go and see?

  64. Chris says:

    Patrick:

    I actually am not bitter at all. That’s exactly why I don’t put myself in the position of being at a new mass — because I am weak and don’t want to feel that bitterness ever again.

    But this is something that affects, literally, millions of traditional Catholics. People who are SSPX or assist at independent chaples struggle with this as well or they’d be at diocese-approved traditional Masses.

    My wife and I started going to an SSPX Mass back when we were indeed bitter. We left our indult church out of anger. We have long gotten past that and returned to our indult parish.

    Thank you for your prayers. I will gladly take them!

    But, again, I don’t want folks to think I’m bitter now — I’m not. Just explaining what has gotten our family to the point where we won’t assist at a new mass ever again. And, in our eyes, that’s not disobediance — in fact, as Michael Davies often said, it’s the truest form of obediance.

  65. Fr. Pat says:

    Chris,

    The priest does have a responsibility to holiness and reverence. However, irresponsibility on the part of a priest cannot and should not be used as avoidence of one’s obligation to participate in the communal worship of God, when one rejects the Body of Christ one rejects Christ. That is why the Church treats the Sunday obligation with great seriousness because it is in the Eucharist the Body finds unity.
    While the individual can merit more graces by their holiness and demeanor and those graces benefit the community, The source of grace, the redemptive act of Christ and life with God to which we are connected to within the Eucharistic liturgy, is infinite.

  66. Chris says:

    Fr. Pat:

    I agree with you — the more holy the priest, the more graces. Also, the more reverent the Mass, the more graces.

    I would never argue one doesn’t receive graces at the NO mass. It’s just a matter of how much. But more importantly, how does one grow in his faith stemming from the mass he attends?

  67. Fr. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. says:

    Three thoughts.
    First, you cannot know the state of a preist’s soul unless he reveals it to you. Don’t judge by externals. Most priests today are acting in good faith and doing what they were taught and what they sincerely believe to be orthopraxis and preaching what they sincerely believe to be orthodoxy. They have been misled. They are ignorant of the truth. They have been misled by the father of lies. To them, we are the one’s with the issues.

    Second, in the offering of the Sacrifice the priest stands in persona Christi. Thus the priest’s personal holiness matters not a jot as to whether or not the sacrifice is offered as long as the Mass is valid. This is a truly wonderful safeguard and consolation. Can more graces be available according to the degree of the priest’s holiness? Yes. But, even if he is the vilest of sinners we still receive grace ex opere operato. The Eucharist is confected and we receive Christ Himself, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. We should let nothing deprive us of this grace… NOTHING. Every Communion enables us to grow in grace and holiness.

    And third, we do not go to Mass for ourselves. Most certainly we benefit from going, but we don’t go for ourselves. We go for God who asks it of us. This is what we should strive for. This is the purest of intentions. It is all for God and because He asks it of us. That we may have much to suffer at a NO Mass or a TLM (Yes, there are bad TLMs too) and still go when there is no alternative is even more pleasing to God, for we have put ourselves aside to do what He asks. It’s an opportunity to enter more deeply into the Sacrifice with Christ.

  68. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Avus,

    Hey, I discussed your question with my pilot brother. My brother was a pilot in the Navy, then Delta, now works for a charter-type private airline. He attends the Tridentine parish in the Atlanta area, and takes Sunday obligation very seriously. He attends the New Mass if he has no other option.

    He stated simply that he frequently misses Mass on Sunday if he flies on Sunday. There’s no way around it with his job, unless there’s an early drop-off or he is in a place offering very late/early Masses.

    My brother mentioned that there is a difference between making our Sunday obligation and keeping the Sabbath holy. The Sunday obligation is a discipline of the Church over which we might not have control. Keeping the Sabbath holy is a commandment that we can always observe. So in the unfortunate event he misses Mass through no fault of his own, he still finds a way to keep the Sabbath holy. He also pointed out that some may not be aware that going to Sunday eve Mass on Saturday only fulfills the Sunday obligation, and that we still are bound to keep the Sabbath holy when Sunday arrives. Something we all maybe “know” but a good point to remember.

    So if ya can’t get there, a broadcast might help you to pray and attend a Mass spiritually wherever there might be one going on at the time, but it is not the same as being there in person. [Ever heard of the prayer “Send your Guardian Angel to Mass”?] The next best thing is observing the Sabbath as best as we can while working or at a break.