From a reader:
Hi Father, here is my question: my wife and I regularly attend the TLM. During Mass we share looking after our rather energetic 3-year old. This often leads one of us to be outside of the church (in the entrance way for example) with our little boy during the Mass, and it is not unusual for one of us to miss the proclamation of the Gospel either in Latin or English or both.
So, if I do not hear the Gospel can I go to Communion?
Is privately reading the Gospel enough if I’ve missed the proclamation? Are the rules different at the NO as opposed to the TLM? I have asked two priests about this and have received two different answers. Thank you.
Thank you for being interested and desiring to do the correct thing.
I cannot imagine why the "rules", if there were hard and fast rules, should be different for the TLM or the Novus Ordo. I suppose the clearly great rigor, the more demanding nature of the TLM suggests a greater or deeper response of participation from the faithful.
But there are no hard and fast rules about this matter. There has been discussion forever about "how much of Mass is enough". Let’s not get too far into that.
The fact is, in your case as you describe it, you are present there at Mass at least in your moral intention. You are trying to be there. You are indeed there but for that little necessary interlude.
If you step out with your squeaker for a few minutes, for the love of God, your neighbor and liturgical decorum, then you are not "leaving Mass". You would still be morally present, unless I suppose you decided to head across the street to the local pub for a pint and a cigarette, junior being an excuse to leave Mass… if you get my drift.
Another point: it is possible to be physically present at Mass and have your mind a thousand miles away. People can even be seen to be going through the motions or even singing and yet internally they are hardly participating at Holy Mass. Rather, they are thinking about getting their car washed or wondering about the baseball game …. which … come to think of it might itself be holy and liturgical. But I digress.
Taking the howler out will help others participate at Holy Mass.
I note that you also mention going back and reading the Gospel on your own. Good.
So… my answer is YES… in the circumstances you offered here you may go to Communion if you took the little darling out to the vestibule and missed the Gospel.