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Status disputationis: Satisfying Mass obligations III

December 6, 2012

This post will only be of interest to those following our discussions of the norms for satisfying back-to-back Mass obligations.

Two distinct questions have arisen here.

First Question. Can attendance at one Mass on the evening of Saturday, December 8, 2012, satisfy the obligation to attend Mass on Immaculate Conception and the Second Sunday of Advent? I say No.

Granted I am away from most of my go-to resources here, but from where I sit, I find one canonist (Waters) who says Yes (briefly, and for a reason I think demonstrably wrong) and one canonist (Huels) who says Maybe, for reasons one can take or leave.

Against them (again, I can only check some of my resources) stand yours truly, the GB & I Commentary, and now-Bp. Dunn for reasons I gave here and here, and then some. Dunn (and to some degree Huels) alert readers to replies given by the Cong. for the Clergy also seeming to answer the question with No, but I cannot put my hands on them from here, so I can do little more than mention them. Both Dunn and Huels note that such replies would not count as “authentic interpretations”. Still.

Now, I’m not counting noses (if I were, at this point it would be 3 straight-up No-s to one brief Yes and a Maybe) but I do want folks to know I take seriously the obligation to explore contrasting views, and will continue to do so, though not likely till next week at this point. One surprising thing: debates over this matter (well, not exactly this matter, but some very closely related ones) date back to the mid-1950s when these variations began to appear. Two of my favorite collections of British canonical Q’s-A’s (Mahoney and Conway) dealt with these things more than 60 years ago! One would have thought by now . . .

Second Question. To satisfy the obligation to attend Mass on Immaculate Conception, must the Mass one attends in satisfaction of the Immaculate Conception obligation be the Mass of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated before the evening of December 8, or, can it be any Mass celebrated at any time beginning on the evening of December 7 and running till 11:59 pm December 8? I say the Latter.

Among canonists (pace liturgists?), this one does not even seem close. I haven’t found any published canonist who holds that Mass at, say, 8 pm on Saturday would not count for Immaculate Conception if that is what how the individual wished to apply it. If you’ve got a CLD X: 190, you can check out a 1971 reply to this effect by Cong. Clergy for yourself. Sure, I’ve heard of plenty of folks who take the liturgical norm about celebrating only vigil masses from evening on, and who assume that such restriction prevents one from fulfilling a canonical obligation thereat (Huels really cautions against doing that), but, well, I’ve said all this before.

Still, as I say, I don’t have all my books right here, so maybe someone can find me a contrary canonist’s view, and send it along?

Best, edp.

Put pithy: ANY Mass satisfies one Mass attendance obligation. No Mass satisfies TWO Mass attendance obligations.

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