From a reader…
Our bishop recently ended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, except in cases of old age or health. This means my young, healthy family is obligated to attend Mass once more. He has also increased the capacity allowance to 50%, but social distancing (6 ft) is still required.
When churches reopened at limited capacity (it had been 33%), our priest was opposed to any sort of registration or reservation system. Instead, he split the parish into two groups by surname, who have been attending Mass on alternating weekends. He has said that he will continue that system due to space limitations (our church building is small).
Is my family obligated to see if another local parish can fit us in on those “off” weekends?
Interesting. Reimpose the obligation, but with restricted access to Mass in parishes. That signals a somewhat cynical view of the numbers of people the bishop expects to return to Mass.
Here’s a thought. Write to the bishop and ask his advice:
“We’re supposed to go every week, but our pastor will only let us go every other week. Since you imposed the obligation, which parish should we attend on ‘off’ weekends?”
Another thought: If its not too onerous, go to another parish, maybe permanently.
And speaking of a burden, there is an adage: Nemo ad impossibilia tenetur. No one is bound to the impossible.
If it is truly burdensome, no one is bound to obligation. Say the pastor won’t let you go to Mass. The next parish is in he next county fifty miles away, with a Mass at a bad time for your family needs. The obligation is lifted.
So, in a word, no, you are not strictly obliged.
I would still write to the Bishop.
You reimposed the obligation, but it’s hard to fulfill it here. What to do?