From a reader:
Is it ok for a child to pretend to say Mass? After reading the following post and its comments I was beginning to be concerned (HERE).
I looked it up in Canon Law and saw similar things.
Obviously it would be OK for an innocent little boy to pretend to “say Mass” in his room, but what about a boy who is older than the age of reason and already receiving the sacraments (12, 13, 14)? Obviously they will grow out of it at some point or another, but as long as they know that it isn’t real and are just playing, not actually trying to consecrate hosts, and are not trying to convince anyone that it is real (and aren’t doing it publicly, just in their room) would it be alright and not incur this “interdict” described in Canon Law? If I recall correctly, don’t you have to be at least 16 to incur an excommunication?
In my opinion, it looked like the norms were aiming for those who “celebrate” Mass publicly, trying to convince others that it is real, or, think that it is real. Is that right?
Of course the norms were not aimed at children “playing” or “pretending” to say Mass. They are aimed at adults who scandalize the faithful and commit a sin by simulating a sacrament.
As far as the age is concerned, parents ought to be watching carefully how and what their children do at every age. If a child is getting older and starts to really think he is saying Mass, that is a deeper problem.
Also, I would discourage girls from ever doing this. (Yes… yes… I know that under other entries some have said they did this and the world didn’t crumble into ashes.)
Bottom line: Provided everything is done with the respect and care, it is okay for little kids to “play Mass”, although … I can’t imagine it is too fun to play “Novus Ordo”.
This reminded me of a photo someone sent of himself as a child playing Mass.
Reason #1556578 for Summorum Pontificum.