Hi Father – my question is about how to fulfill the Easter duty during this time of quarantine. Does a spiritual communion during a “parking lot mass” on Easter Sunday count?
Also, our pastor has insisted that we stay in our cars and not receive Holy Communion.
Let’s have a look at Canon Law for the Latin Church.
Can. 920 §1. After being initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to receive holy communion at least once a year.
§2. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at another time during the year.
See what’s going on there?
Catholics are obliged to receive Communion at least once a year. They are no obliged to receive more often… by law. And the canon says that this is to be done during the “Easter season” – which lasts from Easter until the 50th day, Pentecost.
Moreover, notice that “for a just cause at another time during the year”.
You have a just cause right now. The lockdown orders during time of pandemic have made it virtually impossible for people to attend Mass at all, much less receive Eucharistic Communion.
Also, it may be that your local bishop has issued addition local legislation about this.
There are a couple of principles in law which help us understand our obligations. First, ultra posse nemo obligatur… no one is obliged to act beyond his powers. Put another way, nemo ad impossibilia tenetur… no one is held to the impossible.
If there is no Mass to attend, or if there is no way to make a confession or to receive Eucharistic Communion, then there is not obligation. You can’t go to Masses that are not available. You can’t receive Communion when it is not being distributed. No one is obliged to the impossible.
Be at peace about your Easter obligation. Soon enough this will pass. Let’s pray that it passes while we are in the Easter season.
I invite everyone reading this to pray my prayer asking God for a miracle: the total, sudden, and lasting elimination of the Coronavirus.