ASK FATHER: Obligations and Daily Mass

From a reader…


For those in the lay apostolate that committed to go to daily Mass: is it better to go to a daily Mass full of violations of rubrics that maybe even exhibits a different understanding of what the Mass truly is; or is it better to avoid those Masses and attend less frequently, and seek out a more reverent Mass? Only in regards to daily Mass.

This question would best be directed to the superior or chaplain of that lay apostolate. The charism of the apostolate potentially has some impact on the matter. The superiors are in the best position to provide direction.

That said…

For those asking this question without a specific commitment, concerning daily Mass, everyone should remember that, while attendance at daily Mass is A Good And Fruitful Thing™, for most it is not an obligation. One need not feel guilty for skipping Mass on Tuesday.

Say Fr. Bruce Hugalot at “Sing A New Faith Community Into Being Faith Community” over in the Diocese of Libville, who preaches in a sing song voice and always wears the same “Children of the World” stole regardless of the feast day, is always scheduled for Mass – ooops – “liturgy” on Thursdays. On Thursdays one need not subject herself to the tension headache which will inevitably result.

However, unless Fr. “Just call me ‘Bruce'” egregiously violates the rubrics or attempts the consecration of Cheerios and Zima, it may be beneficial to one’s soul to attend the valid celebration of the Holy Mass and, while there, do his level best to keep his nose in the missal and to ignore the irritating externals.

A lot will depend on up with how much one is willing to put.

Keep in mind that no matter how beautiful it is to be able to hear the Holy Mass read each day, for most of the faithful, there is no obligation to do so.

Pray for those priests who offer Mass sloppily, or regularly violate the rubrics, either out of carelessness or willfulness. Pray for those in places who have few alternatives other than slipshod Masses with heterodox homilies. A petition which may be offered during Masses such as these, coined, or at least popularized by the late Fr. John Buchanan at afternoon Masses at St. Agnes many years ago,…

“Let us pray for this unfortunate archdiocese, that it may soon be returned to obedience, orthodoxy, sanctity and sanity.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    And one more thing, dear Fathers- if you are offering a public daily Mass, please please PLEASE start it on time. Layfolk are even less likely to go if it interferes with their actual obligations…

  2. Suudy says:

    Can you even buy Zima anymore?

  3. Aquinas Gal says:

    If the Mass were possibly invalid, I would agree it’s best not to go. But as long as the Mass is valid I think it is worth putting up with all the liturgical annoyances in the world in order to participate in the Holy Sacrifice and receive Our Lord in Holy Communion as often as possible. Sure it’s not an obligation but it is a tremendous source of grace. And maybe could lead to Father’s conversion…

  4. Thomas Sweeney says:

    For the most part, daily mass was part of my generations childhood. Our neighborhood parish had two daily masses 7:oo and 8:ooam plus one at 7:ooam, in the Sister’s convent. Of course, the one in the convent was just for the Sisters. I don’t remember the hours for visits that our church was open, but many a morning there would be a poor soul sleeping in the back pews. They were probably neighborhood vagrants that Father neither disturbed or removed. Never, in my memory of those years, were there any stories of thievery. This was in the 1940s in a northeastern manufacturing city, and our parish was distinctly blue collar. I think stories like mine were the norm, before we decided to become liberals and began apologizing for our conservative mindset.

  5. Andrew D says:

    As a convert from the episcopal congregation (I can’t call them a church anymore), I’m sad to say that the Catholic Novus Ordo Mass looks exactly like the episcopal liturgy I remember. Seriously, forget the feminist fake priests for a minute and the fact that there’s no Real Presence in the episcopal eucharist: There isn’t much difference between the structure of the N.O. Mass and the episcopal imposter. And I dare say that in many cases, the music at the episcopal imposter is more holy than some of the atrocities heard in N.O. parishes (i.e. Gather Us In). Every day I pray to God, the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph and Saint Thomas More for the conversion of my family who haven’t made the great leap of Faith yet. As long as the Novus Ordo exists, this will be a problem because when they’ve been to a Catholic (N.O.) Mass, they don’t see any difference — in fact, they are horrified by the music and the hand holding during the Pater Noster – oops, excuse me, the Our Father. I really believe that for the sake of souls – inside and outside the Church – the Novus Ordo has to be replaced by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which truly comes across in the TLM. And yes, that includes Sunday Mass and the daily Masses as well. While the daily Masses in N.O. parishes are more reverent than the Sunday Mass (because of the lack of music), they’re still structured as protestant services and that’s just not Catholic enough.

  6. I stopped going to daily Mass because of the liturgical abuses; persons in the congregation taking it upon themselves to start caterwauling during Communion; and, above all, the preaching of errors from the pulpit and/or interactive homilies. These things would start me on my day in such a foul mood, even to the point of physical head and muscle aches — and I already work a high-stress job as it is — that the better course was to stop going. You may say I should go anyway, as it is still the August Sacrifice (even though not readily discernible from how it is celebrated), but I find it difficult enough to struggle through Mass on Sundays and (the remaining few) holy days of obligation. If going to Mass on days not of precept threatens your peace of mind, then it strikes me that, until the situation changes, it’s better not to go.

  7. Georgemartyrfan says:

    We try to go as often as we can during the week (my wife and kids do better than I do given work commitments and timing of Mass). However, it is hit or miss whether we have a reverent priest. It is a difficult thing to discern how to impress upon young children the honor and privilege of attending Mass when the priest does not convey the same message. So far, we’ve chosen to go and respectfully have a conversation with the kids correcting when the priest does something like give a homily following the John 6 gospel with “And of course, you shouldn’t take the Eucharist too literally.” Things like that are more difficult to undo in the malleable minds of children.

  8. Charlotte Allen says:

    @Anita Moore:

    The “August Sacrifice”? Isn’t daily Mass offered year-around in your parish?

  9. Weetabix says:

    “A lot will depend on up with how much one is willing to put.”

    I love you, Fr. Z!

  10. Susan G says:

    @Charlotte Allen
    The August Sacrifice meaning “impressive, magnificent”.

  11. Joe in Canada says:

    Susan G: I suspect Charlotte Allen knew that, and was making a joke based on the capitalization.

    I think a Mass with Cheerios would be invalid. It would be better, I suspect, not to attend a deliberately invalid Mass.

  12. un-ionized says:

    Andrew D, I vacation at an abbey where most of the Episcopalians in attendance at retreats take communion at Mass. I asked one of them why. Her reply, “the rite is the same.”

  13. un-ionized says:

    I should have added that I tried to explain that the “rites are not the same” but was met with a blank stare or an expression of disdain. Sometimes I despair (sinfully). Why did “they” have to change everything, the Mass, the Office, the calendar, the blessings?

  14. Marc M says:

    It’s my understanding that, from the Anglican point of view, there is a common strain of thought that Anglicans, Catholics, and Orthodox are all essentially in communion, despite a state of schism. The same way we see that the Orthodox, though separated, are true, historic Churches with valid priests, apostolic succession, etc., many Anglicans (mistakenly) include themselves in that category, and don’t consider themselves really protestant. So, it may be more theological/historical confusion than something simply arising from similar liturgical styles.

    Fr. Z:
    “A lot will depend on up with how much one is willing to put.”

    Now THAT’S traditional. Didn’t Vatican II do away with the neopelagian rules about ending sentences with a preposition?? :)

  15. un-ionized says:

    Marc, I quoted somebody at a retreat, I wasn’t just making up a hypothetical case. Most of the Episcopalians I know who consider themselves “high church” believe that the rites are the same, therefore they are in communion with us. In fact, these same people believe that the Catholic Church is wrong and somehow out of communion with them and when I ask why they then take communion in a church which they consider to be wrong I get a blank stare.

    There does exist this historical reason that you cite but most people are not knowledgeable or sophisticated enough to know about a historical reason for doing things. So they make up something else to justify what they want to do.

    Churchill famously said, “That is something up with which I will not put.” Ow.

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