Wherein Fr. Z concedes about the “one Mass for two obligations” theory

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    “Fr. Zuhlsdorf is generally very good, but here he’s just plain wrong.”

    Humbling to know he is reading. Perhaps I should dial it down a notch. :)

  2. friarpark says:

    “Fr. Zuhlsdorf is generally very good”

    In this I heartily agree. Although my words would be more effusive.

  3. James says:

    Hey, at least you’re “very good.” That’s something. I would just be happy if a cardinal said I was “decent” or “not bad”.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    Well, I attended at TLM solemn high Mass with choir, of course and the whole ball of wax, this morning at St. Kevin’s in Dublin. A brand new priest said the Mass and gave us all his first blessing afterwards, if we wanted it. However, my schedule is not harried, although I do have to walk a fair bit to get there.

    I would not miss two Masses this weekend for anything. Maybe Cardinal Burke can encourage others to get into the spirit and help us all do our best to attend the two Masses. God bless, you, Father Z, and did you pray for humility lately? If so, your prayers have been answered and you have been very honest with us on this point. But, at least Cardinal Burke has the welfare of your soul in mind, I am sure. And, the “very good” from him is the best of praise.

  5. Markus says:

    Last Sunday, no mention of Saturday Mass during announcements at my mission parish church. They did have, however, a special Mass on Thanksgiving.
    Went to diocese website, no mention of Holyday of Obligation.
    Went to Cathedral’s website, yes, a Holyday of Obligation.
    Attended Friday 5:15 Mass and was told by priest that this did not fullfill obligation for Saturday Holyday of Obligation.
    How can we lay members get info on our obligations if the clergy can’t get it straight? Getting discouraged.

  6. mamajen says:


    This is why I hope someone with authority and the ability to reach the masses will thoroughly explain rather than simply saying “that’s wrong!” In my parish there were extra masses on Friday, but people were told the only option for satisfying the holy day obligation today was at 8 a.m. I feel bad for those who couldn’t make Friday and feel like they failed today as well due to incorrect information. Even among those who agree with two obligations = two masses, there is much confusion as to how to satisfy those obligations.

  7. RoyceReed says:

    If the Church considers it a mortal sin to miss a Holy Day of Obligation (including Sundays, of course), one would think the Holy See might find this situation important enough to issue an official statement. This is, indeed, frustrating.

  8. padredana says:

    I too, must concede. One does not argue with a canonical genius such as Raymond Cardinal Burke, for he is brilliant, and a living saint.

  9. DeProfundis says:

    Having Mass last night on the Vigil of the Feast made it much easier and clearer. Fr. Richard Heilman celebrated the anticipation Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception to a packed church including the men of the Knights of Divine Mercy (www.knightsofdivinemercy.com) last night. After Mass the men heard an awesome meditation by Fr. Greg Ihm ( a young priest of the Diocese of Madison and Master of Ceremonies for His Excellency Bishop Robert Morlino) on our Blessed Mother and the Year of Faith for our usual First Friday Night of Knights. Our Mother Mary will surely repay our generosity of time and devotion so why be stingy! You mean I “get” to go to Mass twice this weekend??

  10. WesleyD says:

    Fr. Z, as someone who has been reading blogs for a decade (and Usenet for half a decade before that), let me say how happy I am when I see anyone on the Internet admit a mistake or make a retraction.

    As a regular reader of your blog, I am not surprised that you did this! But it’s still rare in the blogosphere.

    (For the record, I too am not 100% convinced, since I don’t know what Card. Burke’s or Mr. Peter’s actual argument is. But that’s not relevant to my point here!)

  11. NoraLee9 says:

    Was reminded that this was a Holy Day of Obligation by reading this blog before jumping out of bed this morning. As a result: I attended the 9:00AM at Pequannock. Will do the same tomorrow. If we are judged by our results, Father Z, you’re batting 1000.

  12. Joseph-Mary says:

    Yes, that priests’ retreat in Indiana must have been quite good with Cardinal Burke giving it and what a blessing for those attending it. The retreat center is staffed by the Franciscans of the Immaculate and the Mary’s Children apostolate.

    Again, going to daily Mass just makes all these other discussions rather moot! You never have to worry.

  13. Father, my compliments. There’s something about the internet in general that seems to make people in general both more argumentative than normal and almost pathologically unwilling to admit being wrong.
    Your straightforwardness and grace in this particular matter are edifying indeed.

  14. Even assuming that the law could be interpreted to allow for one Mass for two holy days, this is a situation where the spirit of the law should by common sense trump the letter of the law– two holy days, two Masses. It gets down to why we attend Mass in the first place: is it strictly to satisfy the letter of the law or perhaps because it is good for us and help might lead us to eternal salvation? Is it because we love the Lord or because we have a scorecard that has to be completed? If the letter of the law can suggest that one Mass could cover two holy days, that is a law that needs to be revised and clarified.

    Apart from that, we need to focus on the basics before we get down to canonical hair-splitting. A bulletin from a Manhattan parish this week said that today was not even a holy day of obligation! When people who ought to know the basics can’t even get those down right, we have a problem.

  15. Catholictothecore says:

    I attend daily Mass so this wasn’t an issue for me. Fr. Z, you rarely have to eat humble pie. Must have been a blue moon out there the past few days. I applaud you for your humility.

    “Be humble and you will never be disturbed. It is very difficult in practice because we all want to see the result of our work. Leave it to Jesus.” – Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

  16. Fr. Z – Even Homer nods!

  17. DcnGPaul says:

    Well done Fr. Z. Excellent demonstration of obidience. Some will continue to hold to their own arguements.

  18. Matt R says:

    Cardinal Burke is wonderful! He is incredibly knowledgeable, and humble to boot. I had the honor of meeting him this past summer in Louisville, received his blessing, and got a picture!

  19. Joe Magarac says:

    I’ll appreciate this news the next time that a holy day which is not transferred to Sunday when it falls on a Saturday, falls on a Saturday. For now, I will echo the others here who have asked what we laity are supposed to do when the clergy can’t get the story straight.

    My wife and I knew that today was a mandatory holy day and that tomorrow was Sunday. We wondered if we could satisfy both obligations at one Mass this evening, which given our four young kids and tight schedule would be preferable to the alternative. So a day or two ago, I started looking into this. Checked the parish bulletin. Nothing there. Checked the diocesan website. Nothing there, either. Checked the internet. Found a lot of irrelevant information and then found Fr. Z’s recent series of posts, all of which – this one included – acknowledge that there is no clear rule handed down from the Holy See either way and that canonists differ.

    I now know – hours after the last local Mass for today’s holy day has been celebrated – that while there still remains no clear rule, one eminent Cardinal and canonist thinks that I should have gone to Mass earlier today. Wish I had known that 48 hours ago. For now, I will go with my family to Mass tonight and ask the publican whom Christ described in the Gospels, if he’s a real person, to suggest to God that on this occasion, it’s the thought that counts.

  20. Daniel says:

    Is it still correct that someone could meet their obligation for today’s holy day by attending an evening Mass that could be for the Sunday of Advent, but they would need to then attend a 2nd Mass to meet the Sunday obligation?

  21. Matt R says:

    Joe, see the comment right below yours. You will be fine as long as you go tomorrow as well.

  22. jilly4ski says:

    Yeah, last weekend the priest said there was no obligation for today, oddly enough when I checked the parish bullitin on Thursday they said it was a HDO. Sigh, (he is otherwise a good priest, I am surprised he got this wrong) nonetheless he was going to have Mass both last night (an anticipated mass) and this morning. Of course 7pm (bedtime) and 8 am breakfast time are not the ideal time to take 3 kids 3 and under to Mass. Luckily I found a Mass at 10am this morning, a Latin OF. The kids were horrendous (probably because the Church was so quiet). We got our obligation in, though I must say, the planning would have been much better if we had known more in advance.

  23. Bryan Boyle says:

    Father…nothing wrong with being corrected, fraternally, by the good Cardinal Burke. That he even knows of you…well, sometimes it’s good to be noticed…other times? Well, we’ll leave that to the Holy Spirit.

    God bless.

  24. OrthodoxChick says:

    I attended the Vigil last night and I’m planning to attend the EF on Sunday (God-Willing). Promise!

  25. frjim4321 says:

    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.

    Exactly so.

    I’m with our reverend host on this one.

    The best argument I’ve heard is when a HDO falls on a Sunday there is no obligation to attend twice.

    I think the concession is premature.

  26. kwooding says:

    Two different days, two different liturgies. Seems simple enough.

  27. dboncan says:

    That’s why I trust you Fr. Z because you don’t let your pride get in the way. Thank you for this post.

  28. Elizabeth M says:

    And this is why I just avoid the entire “evening vigil” thing. Saturday is Saturday and Sunday is Sunday. Jesus rose on Sunday morning, not Saturday evening otherwise we wouldn’t have 3 days would we? I know there are many people who have to work on Saturday ( I used to be one of them) but I think too many people in the US are lazy. Our neighbors went last night. Had no reason to skip Saturday, it was just more “convenient”. Then they attend regularly on Sunday morning. I thought the vigil Mass rule was established for people like, oh, police officers, nurses, doctors. Guess I should be glad people attend at all.

  29. Jenelle says:

    Here in Brooklyn, we had a Vigil Immaculate Conception Mass at 7.15pm followed by our usual First Friday Holy Hour and had Benediction at about 9pm. It was well attended with the usual people that we would see at a normal Holy Day of Obligation 7.15pm Mass and with a bonus lot of extra visitors due to our Holy Hour.

    Father then did our usual 8.30am Saturday Mass this morning .

  30. joan ellen says:

    Fr. Z’s willingness to set an example of humility and obedience is refreshing.

    The 2 days of Mass means 3 EF Masses in 1 week for me. Usually attend the EF on 2 days in a week. 1 Sunday at one parish and a 2nd one Monday at another. Today I got to attend the EF Mass also for the Holy Day of Obligation. 3 EF Masses in 1 week means more Sanctifying Grace for my pitiful in desperate need soul.

    Please bring us those EF Masses.

  31. Bea says:

    I followed the argument but my gut feeling was TWO Masses is what I should attend.
    That said, my better half and I have done that. (at least I already have 3PM Mass for the Immaculate Conception and 5:15 Mass for Anticipated Mass for 2nd Sunday of Advent/I have the bookstore to run tomorrow). My husband goes tomorrow for his 2nd Mass for the 2nd Sunday of Advent.

    Had good sermons at both Masses , by the way.

  32. mamajen says:

    @Elizabeth M

    It would have been better for you had you stopped before you cast judgment on the entire US and your neighbors in particular. There is nothing wrong or less about attending a vigil mass, and it’s none of your business why people do. You should be happy your neighbors attended at all instead of looking for ways to feel holier than them.

  33. Dr. Eric says:

    Why can’t they just move all the Feasts to Sundays like they already did for Ascension, Corpus Christi and The Epiphany? Or even better, drop the HDoO for all non-Sundays like the American bishops did for the Feasts of Sts. Joseph, Peter, and Paul?

    (sarcasm of)

  34. frjim4321 says:

    kwooding, nice try but then I guess on Sunday 12/25 you go to mass twice.

    It seems incontrovertible that you can fulfill the obligation for both days between 4PM and midnight on the Saturday, but (1) it’s really not about the obligation, it’s about being an observant Catholic and (2) the ICM is a wonderful feast and augments Advent beautifully even though it’s not about the conception of Jesus but of Mary.

    A competent pastor would have encouraged parishioners to attend both and IMC liturgy and an Advent II liturgy.

  35. Okay, I am officially confused now.
    My parish advertised “Holy Day of Obligation Mass: 8AM, Noon, 5 PM and 7:30 PM” on its website. I chose to attend at 7:30 PM, only to hear Father announce at the start that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception had ended at 12 Noon and that the Mass he was about to begin was the Vigil Mass for the second Sunday in Advent.
    Then, at the end of Mass, he had us all pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Gloria together, announcing to us that we would do this in order to obtain the plenary indulgence for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception!
    Ecquid? [sigh]

  36. lampada says:

    I am afraid I continue to be in the camp Fr. Z has just departed from. [As I said, above, I am still scratching my head about this one. The reasoning is not apparent to me. For the sake of the readers, however, and any future confusion, I am going to back away from the issue.] The million dollar question in my mind has to do with the middle term in the syllogism. Dr. Ed Peters assumes that two obligations cannot be satisfied with one event. Where in canon law is this articulated? If a bishop elect’s last day of the mandatory period to get himself ordained happens to be a Sunday or a HDO, and he gets himself ordained that day, does that mean he has to go to another Mass to satisfy the OTHER obligation or do we concede that his attendance at his ordination Mass satisfies his time-frame obligations AND his Sunday/HDO obligation? While I admire Cardinal Burke and Ed Peters, and agree that it is important for spirituality to attend Mass twice, I do not think it is an obligation based on the current laws.

    On the related subject, as a canonist, I was horrified to see bulletins all over my city saying that evening Saturday Mass did not count towards one’s HDO. I would rather see people go for a two-fer which does not explicitly go against one’s obligations than the priests wrongly inform people that Saturday evening Mass did not count for the HDO.

  37. Ann Roth says:

    Elizabeth M.,

    Attending a vigil Mass is not always about being too lazy to go in the morning. I do not like to attend a vigil Mass. I prefer to attend on Sunday or the Holy Day itself. However, my children and I had to attend the vigil for IC because our parish was not offering a Mass in the OF for IC on Sat. Father was only offering the EF on Sat. We do not attend EF. 3/4 of the parish attends the OF and I am happy to say we had a large crowd on Friday night. Even our pastor was surprised and pleased at the number of people attending.

    I agree that daily Mass makes these issues not only moot since I won’t miss an obligation, it becomes natural to go to Mass. These “obligations” are not a burden. The obligation does help me get my children to Mass so it is o.k. with me that we “have” to go twice this weekend. They understand that you go if it is an obligation, no arguments. The obligation helps instill good habits.

    Thank you Father Z. for the whole discussion, especially for keeping us updated on the different opinions out there.

  38. C. says:

    Cardinal Burke is usually very good, but in this he is just plain wrong.

    You don’t clarify dubia via some friend of a friend of a blogger. You clarify them by issuing an official interpretation. And until you do, you leave the consciences of Catholics untroubled by your private opinions.

    “Quick, young Catholic! You have 22 hours to decide if I am right or you’re going to Hell. Because I didn’t do my job. And everyone else is just plain wrong.”

  39. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    You’ll notice, Cdl. Burke said Fr. Z is “very good”; about me, only that I’m “right”.

    While I’ll settle for right, but I’d rather be both, so now I have to work on being good….like Fr. Z.

  40. oldCatholigirl says:

    Maybe I’m just too casual about these things, but I don’t think anyone’s going to hell because of confusion about Masses of obligation. Seems to me that common sense always enters into these decisions–and always did. In “the old days”, I didn’t worry about missing Mass if I was sick or the roads were impassible. In the “new days”, I once realized that I’d missed my usual faraway EF because of horrendous weather (ok), but also neglected to go to the local Sun. 5:00 p.m. (rather casual) OF, even though the weather had cleared. So I didn’t go to Communion at my next daily Mass (OF) and shocked the pastor by asking him to hear my Confession afterwards.
    Of course, one wants to celebrate Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception with a special Mass, if at all possible. Of course, one tries to ascertain the Church’s regulations and abide by them. But not out of fear of damnation.

  41. acardnal says:

    Someone correct me if I am mistaken but didn’t Sunday Vigil Masses (Saturday evening) begin after Vatican 2? It seems to me that in the intervening years that some office in the Holy See, some dicastery must have ruled on this issue by now! Hopefully, some scholar on this blog can cite the pertinent document. Then again, since there is still so much variance from diocese to diocese on the “one Mass or two obligation” – even among canon lawyers – perhaps there is no document or ruling. Hard for me to believe.

    FYI, Cardinal Raymond Burke has a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

    So, the confusion continues.

  42. Trad Catholic Girl says:

    Why do we get so caught up in discussing Mass attendance as an obligation? I attend Mass because I love God and want to worship him, and honor special observances such as the Immaculate Conception. For me, Mass is a joy rather than an obligation.

  43. Imrahil says:

    Why do we get so caught up in discussing Mass attendance as an obligation?

    Dear @TradCatholicGirl,

    Because it happens to be an obligation.

    Which actually is a very wise institution. I learn that back in the days when everything was put under discussion, people who were certainly not Trad and some might say were not totally Catholic (forgive the allusion), they took the consequence and said that Mass should furtheron be attended for joy only, not for obligation. Of the results let be silent the minstrel’s courtesy.

    You attend Mass because you love God and want to worship Him. But think about other people who do not share your feelings; and – it’s difficult to put – I’d think about myself (who would second this attitude of yours) and ask myself: would I, indeed, still love God and want to worship Him as to go to Mass if I were never obliged. I do not know. But I am glad I need not try.

    And whether we have 5 or (as now) about 60 or 180 obligations a year, it will still be asked what percisely is an obligation. – For noone, even among the modernizers I spoke of, really would think of doing the obligation away, only some did want to blur the clear talk of it and instead say things like “if you really are a Christian etc. you will etc.”, without specifying precisely what you will, leaving the lax person in a state of does-not-matter and the scrupulous person in a state of constant have-not-done-enough.

    One that question’s been answered, we can also take some special joy in doing something we need not have done.

  44. C., above, has expressed himself/herself bluntly, but has a point. Where have the bishops been in all this? Where has Rome been, for Pete(r)’s sake?
    Titius: “Roma locuta, causa finita.”
    Gaius: “Utinam locuta esset!

  45. acardnal says:

    A comment of mine is in the moderation queue, but one of the points I want to make – if this makes it through – is that Cardinal Burke has doctorate in canon law from the Gregorian. So, like other canon lawyers on this blog and elsewhere, the question of “one for two” appears to be in dispute and not settled.

  46. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    The best argument I’ve heard is when a HDO falls on a Sunday there is no obligation to attend twice.

    Next year the IC will be transferred to Monday Dec 9th.

  47. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    The best argument I’ve heard is when a HDO falls on a Sunday there is no obligation to attend twice.

    Next year the IC will be transferred to Monday Dec 9th.

  48. robtbrown says:

    C. says:

    Cardinal Burke is usually very good, but in this he is just plain wrong.

    You don’t clarify dubia via some friend of a friend of a blogger. You clarify them by issuing an official interpretation.

    Good gravy, someone asked him his opinion in a personal setting. It’s not as if he called a press conference.

  49. robtbrown says:


    In the 1960 calendar of the TLM the IC is transferred to Monday.

  50. mamajen says:

    It’s striking to me, on this topic and others, that people can’t comprehend that circumstances for others may be quite different from their own. I keep seeing the “we should WANT to go to mass as much as possible, so why are we even having this discussion?” argument. It is not easy for everyone to get to mass, and although it may not be a sin for someone to miss out if they honestly couldn’t get there, they would surely still feel some guilt for missing the obligation. Then there are those who don’t have the good fortune of being able to attend a beautiful, reverent mass, and instead have to suffer through bad music, liturgical abuses, wild children, etc. Of course that doesn’t mean they aren’t still obliged to attend, but I can understand why mass is less a joy for them and the temptation for the “minimalist” approach is there. And, finally, as many here have related, in some parishes the priests were erroneously telling people when and how they could satisfy the obligation, making it even more confusing and difficult to get to a mass that they were told would meet the requirements.

    I know this whole debate seems trivial to some, but I think it’s very important to be able to understand and correctly interpret Canon Law, leaving emotions out of it. We saw with Fr. Guarnizo what happened when someone with the very best of intentions interpreted the law too strictly. I think when Fr. Z and others wonder about things like this it’s not because they don’t love the mass or want to weasel out of obligations, but they want to understand why the rules are as they are in order to better understand other things as well. I find it all very fascinating.

  51. kat says:

    I’m not going to say who’s right or wrong on this one; but I do not understand something:

    People are mentioning, for example, that Christmas next year falls on Sunday, so if you go by the insistence of two Masses, two feasts, you’d have to go twice next Christmas Sundyay to fulfill both.

    The example is not pertinent. The fact is that next year, Christmas, Dec. 25, falls on a Sunday. Christmas, being the greater in importance of the two, supercedes the Sunday, and the Mass of the Sunday is not even said.

    This year’s feast of the Immaculate Conception falls on a Saturday. We are obliged to go to Mass on Dec. 8 as the feast day of that particular event. We are also obliged, as a matter of course, to assist at Mass on all Sundays. Saturday is not Sunday; but the Church has allowed one to assist at Mass on Saturday evening for a vigil of Sunday.

    So the two arguments are not interchangeable (whatever the decision is for the Saturday), because one is trying to take care of two DIFFERENT DAYS of the week and two DIFFERENT feasts (IC and 2nd Sun of Advent), whereas the other is very concretely ONE DAY on which two different feasts fall. (Although in reality next Sunday when Christmas falls on it, there isn’t even a feast for that Sunday, since it would not be the 4th Sunday in Advent OR the Sunday after Christmas, so there isn’t even a Sunday feast to be superceded next Sunday, Dec. 25, 2013!)

    So whatever argument plays out for Saturday Dec. 8 and the number of Masses to attend, it cannot be argued the same point for when a feast actually falls on a Sunday. The Church has always been clear about “classes” of feasts and which takes precedence when two fall on the same DAY.

  52. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil says,

    You attend Mass because you love God and want to worship Him. But think about other people who do not share your feelings; and – it’s difficult to put – I’d think about myself (who would second this attitude of yours) and ask myself: would I, indeed, still love God and want to worship Him as to go to Mass if I were never obliged. I do not know. But I am glad I need not try.

    A monk of Fontgombault, later abbot of Randol, once told me: “I’d like to be a saint all day, but right now I can only be a saint for a few minutes each day.”

    IMHO, that’s why there are obligations.

  53. mamajen says:

    Next year the IC will be transferred to Monday Dec 9th.

    Okay, this is the first “clue” I’ve seen as to why some are so adamantly against the “two-fer” approach. It seems they are saying that the IC is so important, that they won’t even allow the obligation to be “cancelled out” if it were to fall on a Sunday, as would normally be the case. Unfortunately it still doesn’t answer the question of whether a Sunday evening mass would count for both, but I can kind of see what they’re getting at. If they’re okay with transferring, why not remove all ambiguity and keep it away from Saturday and Sunday altogether? Make it Friday or Tuesday and there would be no question.

  54. Next year, with the transfer to Monday, it will not be a Holy Day of Obligation.

  55. jhayes says:

    Next year, with the transfer to Monday, it will not be a Holy Day of Obligation.

    That’s right (in the US). Here’s how it is listed in the 2013 Calendar issued by the USCCB:

    Is 11:1-10/Rom 15:4-9/Mt 3:1-12 (4) Pss II

    9 Mon The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patronal Feastday of the United States of America
    Solemnity [not a Holyday of Obligation]
    Gn 3:9-15, 20/Eph 1:3-6, 11-12/Lk 1:26-38 (689)

    10 Tue Advent Weekday
    Is 40:1-11/qMt 18:12-14 (182)
    Pss Prop


  56. filiusdextris says:

    He also has clearly stated that it is formal cooperation with evil to pay for insurance rate increases under ObamaCare, though he did not outline an argument as to why that is so. Dr. Janet Smith has acknowledged Cardinal Burke’s position, but rejected it, in my opinion, convincingly. I am neither a canonist nor a theologian, and I agree with Burke on the double requirement, but I offer this for what it may be worth to you.

  57. Trad Catholic Girl says:

    I could be wrong but I’m wondering if the concept of Mass as an obligation may dissuade some people from attending Mass, especially those not realizing that it is a mortal sin to purposely skip Mass. It also makes me wonder if the people who habitually leave Mass immediately after Communion only attend because they feel obliged to do so.

  58. bookworm says:

    “For me, Mass is a joy rather than an obligation.”

    That is true in my case. However, I have to live with a husband who totally disregards his Mass obligation and considers it silly and burdensome, and an autistic teenage child who is not always eager to fulfill it. Frankly, I kind of dread holy days because it means having to rearrange THEIR schedules somewhat against their will. If I were living alone, or if I had a totally supportive spouse who was eager and happy to attend Mass, this would not be a problem. As it is, I have to try to find the time of day and Mass schedule that will be least stressful and disruptive to them.

    Because DH and DD had other things they wanted to do Friday night and Saturday morning, I settled for me and DD attending a Saturday evening/Sunday anticipation Mass (for the holy day) and attending the same Mass again this morning (for the Sunday obligation). It is my understanding that even though neither Mass was specifically for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, I fulfilled both obligations. I think it’s wise to remember that looking for a more “convienient” way to fulfill Sunday and holy day obligations isn’t always just a matter of minimalism or laziness; it may have to do with competing work and family obligations as well.

  59. wmeyer says:

    Were I not in perpetual moderation, I could express my agreement with the pleasure of both the Masses I attended.

  60. Matt R says:

    I think it’s silly that the IC obligation is removed when it’s transferred to Monday, considering that it’s our patronal feast day. Good Heavens, that’s almost as bad as lifting it for All Saints when it is on Saturday or Monday.

  61. LisaP. says:

    I take care of my children out of obligation.

    I do love them. I often enjoy their company. But no mom or dad changes every diaper out of perfect love, eh?

    Markus, I feel for you. My missing the obligation was my responsibility (culpable ignorance of the holy day + poor planning + anxiety) but our parish actually did not have a Saturday morning Mass at all — there was a Friday evening vigil for the holy day, and then the regular Saturday vigil and Sunday Mass schedule. Weird.

  62. Imrahil says:

    I’d even go so far as to say that you do not need the work/family obligation excuse to apply “minimalism” (which rather should be called, asking what precisely it is you must do). You must do what you must do; you need not do what you need not do.

    Dear @TradCatholicGirl,

    we are right now having a large field-experiment that has been lasting for some decades about, if not taking the obligation away, then at least take all the talk of it away and do everything to create the impression that the obligation has been taken away. The results are obvious. While we do not know whether other active principles have come into play (btw you never know in a study), still… the results are obvious.

  63. wolfeken says:

    Two things:

    1) For the traditional Latin Mass on 8 December 2013, the feast of the Immaculate Conception remains on Sunday the 8th, with a commemoration of the 2nd Sunday of Advent at Mass, lauds and vespers. Monday, 9 December, is a ferial day.

    2) acardnal asked when the “anticipated Mass” thing began. The answer is 1967, when Paul VI invented this novelty. Instruction was given via “Eucharisticum Mysterium,” a document by the Sacred Congregation of Rites that contained perhaps the most radical changes to the Mass prior to the novus ordo. Pretty much all of the Church’s liturgical insanity can be found in this one document. http://www.adoremus.org/eucharisticummysterium.html

  64. oldCatholigirl says:

    I have the impression that some of the “weird” scheduling and abeyance of obligatory Masses is because priests are not as thick on the ground as they used to be; nor are the ones who are left comfortable with saying multiple Masses one after the other. We laypeople should consider the logistics for priests who want to properly celebrate a feast day and not just do it perfunctorily, whenever they say its Mass(es). Also, just as laypeople may have difficulties getting to a church at a certain place and time, so might priests who have to serve more than one parish.

  65. LisaP. says:

    Ours is a fairly small parish by population, and I don’t believe the mission had a holy day Mass offered at all (although maybe I didn’t see it, that might explain it!). I’m guessing in our case that they were probably looking at maybe one to two hundred attending at all, so they figured more would want an evening Mass (night before) than a morning Mass, so rather than do two Masses they did the time more convenient. But that does mean on the ground that our wholegeographically large parish didn’t have a Mass on the actual holy day for the holy day.
    I do recognise logistics, etc. play in, but I personally think it’s better to have “extra” largely empty Masses and confession offered even when no one shows up rather than full potlucks, staffed faith formation, parish picnics and planning committees and all that other stuff priests are told they have to do. No one else can bring us the sacraments, I think we all need to recognise that’s where we should want our pastor to put his energy.

    But again, no right to complain here since I should have planned better. By the time I realised it was aholyday we were only able to attend Saturday morning, I was surprised thatwasn’tan option, but complaining about it makes me like my kids ordering specialty breakfasts like I’ m a short order cook! Priests are not obligated to make the sacraments “handy” for me, it’s true.

  66. LisaP. says:

    Why would it be uncomfortable saying multiple Masses in a row? Genuine question, I tend to think of it as being like at a job, like when I taught the same civics class several times in a row each day. It was what was there to do, it was new for each class. Is there something specific to Mass, like does repetition make reverence harder? Or are you referring to situations like the retired priest I knew who filled in and had huge back pain when he said Mass, can’t imagine him doing several in a row, heroic with just one. Just didn’t get that part.

  67. Michelle F says:

    Next year’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception should be obligatory.

    In an article on the St. Anthony Messenger website, Fr. Pat McCloskey says:

    “The Holy See requires that in each country Christmas and one feast of Mary be observed on the actual date as holy days of obligation. The U.S. bishops have designated the Immaculate Conception, our patronal feast on December 8, as our Marian feast.”

    I can’t find any document from the Vatican which contains this instruction, although I suspect it may be in Calendaria particularia if such an instruction does exist, but the USCCB’s website DOES NOT include the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in its list of feasts which are abrogated when they fall on a Saturday or a Monday:

    “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated” [boldface added].

    The PDF calendar for which jhayes gave a link on the USCCB’s website does say that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is not a holyday of obligation next year, but I think it is a secretary’s error.

    The St. Anthony Messenger article is here:

    The USCCB’s Complementary Norms for Holydays of Obligation are here:

    For the record, I also don’t understand why so many people want to get into theological hair-splitting over the issue of whether one is obligated to go to Mass two days in a row. The fact that a holyday was obligatory in the first place, either before the USCCB cut down the calendar or before the Vatican II changes, shows that the Church considers the holyday in question to be a very important one. We should go to Mass on that day if possible even if it isn’t “obligatory.” One can never go wrong by going to Mass!

  68. AnnAsher says:

    Thank you Fr Z. This is all rather headache causing. I had sick kids and had to work but I don’t like leaning in that exception. Now with this immovable feast being moved next year because its on a Sunday and Christmas being Sunday and the Sunday omitted … Oye! There’s no following the logic. I’m going to confession tomorrow.

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