ENGLAND Friday 29 June is a Holy Day of Obligation

My friend Fr. Tim Finigan, His Hermeueticalness, has on his parish’s website a good reminder for his readers in the UK that Friday 29 June, the Feast or Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul is, for them, a Holy Day of Obligation.  Since I have quite a few readers across the pond, it seemed a good idea to help H.H. with this reminder.

Moreover, a plenary indulgence may be gained on Sts. Peter and Paul, under the usual conditions.  Fr. Finigan describes the conditions: by devoutly praying with a pious object (rosary, holy card etc.) which has been blessed by the Pope or any Bishop, or by visiting a (Catholic) Cathedral Church. In either case, the Our Father and the Creed should be said.

Also, Sts Peter and Paul is a on the post-Conciliar liturgical calendar “Solemnity”.  Therefore, people in England and Wales are free if they wish to eat meat on that Friday.  Fr. Finigan adds: “It would be a devout practice (though not obligatory) to abstain from meat on the day before, on the Vigil of the feast.”  Fr. Z nods approvingly.

For an explanation of indulgences, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church n.1471 ff.

For an explanation of the conditions for gaining a plenary indulgence, see fr. Finigan’s article Plenary indulgences not impossible.

In the United States, we observe six Holy Days of Obligation in addition to all Sundays of the Year (yes, Sundays are “days of precept”).

  1. Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God
  2. The Ascension of Our Lord
  3. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  4. All Saints Day
  5. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
  6. Christmas

The Latin Church’s 1983 Code of Canon Law lists 10 Holy Days of Obligation.  However, bishops’ conferences can reduce that number. In the USA, some days are routinely moved to Sunday, such as Epiphany and Corpus Christi – which is a bad idea, but they didn’t ask me.  The US bishops removed the obligation – and this was also a bad idea -for St. Joseph, and Sts. Peter and Paul.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Fraley says:

    If an American Catholic travels to the UK is he expected to attend Mass on the UK Holy Days of Obligation?

  2. Brad says:

    Good St. Joseph takes this slight in his usual silent humility, in which crouches nearly-unparalleled virtue, which in turn merely magnifies and glorifies his Son, the source of his virtue. When Sts. Peter and Paul entered heaven and the virtues of St. Joseph were then truly revealed to them, they later emulated his humility as their own Solemnity was downgraded. Thus in heaven beauty builds upon beauty to the joy of the saints and angels while we here in this vale of tears continually and voluntarily delve into ever deeper levels of poverty.

  3. asperges says:

    @Fraley: No, assuming the visit is temporary, or the same obligation would have applied at home. Nor need you observe different fasting rules. At some point on a protracted visit – eg a sabbatical perhaps – the temporary visitor’s rule no longer applies. Whether this point is defined I am not qualified to say. Common sense needs to come into the equation somewhere.

    You are on the other hand free to observe the rules of your visited country, but (one presumes) not “mix and match” to your own advantage.

  4. pelerin says:

    I am surprised at ‘asperges’ answer as I had always understood that you go by the rules of the Church for the country in which you find yourself. I had never heard of the temporary visitor’s rule. ‘When in Rome etc’ On a recent visit to France I was having difficulty finding a non-meat sandwich on a Friday. Then I remembered it is not a day of abstainance there, so enjoyed a ham baguette!

  5. WesleyD says:

    What were the rules for Friday abstinence prior to the 1960s? Were all solemnities non-abstinence days? What about feasts? (Or — showing my ignorance — do the terms “feast” and “solemnity” even apply to the pre-1962 liturgical calendar?)

    If a certain Friday was not an abstinence day, was the abstinence transferred to the day before? Or if this was merely a “devout practice” (in Fr. Finigan’s words), was this widely practiced?

    Just curious!

  6. Imrahil says:

    Dear @WesleyD, yes the terms do apply, if you replace them one by one with “feast of the first class” (even earlier: double [feast] of the first class) and “feast of the second class” (double of the second class). However, below them it becomes more difficult; while and obligatory memorial equates to, in 1962, a “feast of the third class”, I cannot tell you how to fit with all these double majors, doubles, semidoubles, simples, and commemorations that were there even earlier.

    But under the old Code (can 1252 § 4 CIC1917), it was not the rank of solemnity (or first class) but the rank of feast of precept that would have exempted from abstinence. Thus while there was no abstinence on the Most Sacred Heart this year, there would have been under the old Code.

    Abstinences are not transferred to previous days. (Of course you may devoutly fast and abstine practically everywhen.) The devout practice Fr Finigan mentions is the fact that Vigils as such have a certain connection with fasting, abstinence and similar practices, being preparation to the feast that follows. (There were some Vigils, though not Peter and Paul, that used to have obligatory abstinence under the old Code; I do not know whether there were even more before.) Of course the fact that we get one day abstinence off might stimulate the idea of abstining on the Vigil.

  7. Batfink says:

    @pelerin: asperges is right. When travelling, you are bound neither by your own country’s laws nor those of the country you’re staying in. The only point where I disagree is in not being free to pick and choose, I actually think you are allowed to do this on the grounds that laws which oblige one to do something should always be interpreted most loosely and laws which give one permission to do something should always be interpreted most favourably.

    Can. 12 §1. Universal laws bind everywhere all those for whom they were issued.
    §2. All who are actually present in a certain territory, however, are exempted from universal laws which are not in force in that territory.
    §3. Laws established for a particular territory bind those for whom they were issued as well as those who have a domicile or quasi-domicile there and who at the same time are actually residing there, without prejudice to the prescript of ? can. 13.
    Can. 13 §1. Particular laws are not presumed to be personal but territorial unless it is otherwise evident.
    §2. Travelers are not bound:
    1/ by the particular laws of their own territory as long as they are absent from it unless either the transgression of those laws causes harm in their own territory or the laws are personal;
    2/ by the laws of the territory in which they are present, with the exception of those laws which provide for public order, which determine the formalities of acts, or which regard immovable goods located in the territory.
    §3. Transients are bound by both universal and particular laws which are in force in the place where they are present.

  8. pelerin says:

    Thanks Batfink. I think where I have been under a misunderstanding is in the word ‘traveller’which I have always taken to mean someone whilst they are actually in the process of going from A to B. If I have understood correctly it would appear that the word ‘traveller’ actually refers to the whole time someone is away whether it be a weekend or a couple of weeks.

  9. ByzCath08 says:

    I keep waiting for the US Bishops to move Christmas to the nearest Sunday.

    /sarcasm off

  10. Batfink says:

    Yes, Pelerin, your second definition is correct. A traveller is someone who is temporarily away from their usual place of residence, not necessarily in transit. Bon appétit

  11. Supertradmum says:

    Pelerin and Batfink–to clarify–If one is residing for any time in a country, for an extended vacation, work or study, one becomes involved with the national, local Church. In England, in Malta, in Ireland, I observed whatever days were obligatory for those countries–such as Epiphany which varies. Why would anyone even ask the question? If you are moving through a country, getting from one place to the next, such as stopping off in England to get to Malta, you would not be bound to follow local custom as to Holy Days, but you are required to do so otherwise.

    More importantly, the word transient does not mean the same as in normal English in the States. Transient means one of no official fixed abode, which could mean that the person is living in the country, but without a FPA, fixed placed of abode, sometimes called FPR, fixed place of residence. I am temporarily living in England, and would qualify as a visitor, not a permanent resident, and therefore, unless I buy a house here and pay taxes twice to two countries, I am a transient, not a traveler. If I live in b and bs, or rent a place for a few months, I am transient. If I were going on holiday for a short period of time to France from England, for example, I am a traveler. Pelerin is not exactly correct. Transient does not mean “in transit” but temporarily not in a fixed abode, even if that is many months and not a permanent residence. For example, a priest cannot marry a transient in Canon Law, unless a bishop gives permission. If I were to get married in another country, for example, rather than the United States, a bishop would have to give permission. I would be considered by Canon Law, transient. I am still bound to follow the holy days. If this helps, a student is transient, unless he or she changes their residency, as one sees at times of voting–he or she must vote from their parents’ address. And, even in the States, if a student wants to get married outside his or her home resident diocese, he or she must get permission. Look at the NDU website, for example, regarding marriages for guidelines. Some places have permission for students carte blanche and some do not. Same applies for observing holy days of obligation.

    I was a permanent resident in England at one time before laws changed, but also a student, and now a visitor. At all times, I followed, and still do, local Catholic custom and am looking forward to the holy day of obligation, which is much loved here by the Church as a sign of solidarity with Rome.

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