I have written a couple times (HERE and HERE) about the possibility of attending one Mass on Saturday evening of the day of the Immaculate Conception (a Holy Day of Obligation in these USA) and, thereby, of fulfilling also the Sunday obligation. That was my reading of can. 1248.
Remember: I am not a canonist. Nor have I played on on TV.
Remember too: I have been saying all along that it is far better to attend two Masses, one on each day.
It seemed to me, however, that the law, interpreted as flexibly as we are asked to interpret it when obligations are involved, could permit two obligations to be fulfilled by participation at one Mass. The Mass attended would just happen to fall in the period of about 8 hours of overlap of the two days as reckoned according to liturgical time and non-liturgical time. And, again, we interpret law as favorably as we can when obligations are imposed.
A couple canonists I have contacted agree with me. More, do not. The prevailing opinion among canonists (and I am not one) is that one Mass on Saturday does NOT fulfill two obligations. Among the dissenting (from me, that is) canonists is Dr. Peters, whom I respect greatly in matters canonical.
Now I have heard an anecdote which I must, in justice, share.
A priest friend in these USA after a retreat in Indiana recently collared His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke (Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, and thus Holy Church’s “Supreme Court Chief Justice”).
My friend said he was in a conversation with Card. Burke yesterday afternoon when one of the other priests present brought up the disagreement on the issue of the double obligation fulfillment. My priest friend said one of the priests said, “Ed Peters takes the position that one must attend two Masses, while Fr. Z says one Mass in the evening could count for both.” He said Burke responded, “Fr. Zuhlsdorf is generally very good, but here he’s just plain wrong.”
Card. Burke said that, in this matter, I am “just plain wrong”.
Well. There it is.
Card. Burke’s response is not the equivalent of an authentic interpretation of the canon as issued by the proper dicastery of the Holy See, but it ain’t chopped liver either.
All along I have said that I defer to proper authority on this one. I still don’t see the logic, but when I find I disagree with Dr. Peters AND Card. Burke, I start to question my ability to reason.
In the meantime, as I continue to scratch my head, you had all better get yourselves to Mass today and tomorrow as well.
I considered myself obliged to pass this news along to those of you who have followed the argument.