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Post script on Mass obligations

December 9, 2012

Fr. Zuhlsdorf graciously reports that a priest-friend of his reports that Cdl. Burke says that Ed Peters is right in holding that attending one evening Mass does not suffice for two Mass attendance obligations. The cardinal’s remarks do not amount to an authentic interpretation of law, of course, and he prefaced them by saying that Fr. Z is “very good”, but that, as it happens, this time the canon lawyer is right. That’s no great compliment to me for, as I’ve said, the obligation to attend Mass is assessed canonically, while the choice of Mass texts, etc., is determined liturgically, and so we were, all along, playing by canonical rules, not liturgical.

Fr. Z was actually one of few the disputants to get that aspect of things right, it’s just that he just tripped over the canonical notion of favores ampliari. But others invoked it, too, and each time they did, I winced.

Remember the great flick Princess Bride, wherein Fezzini exclaims “Inconceivable!” several times, though never quite appropriately? Eventually his friend Inigo says “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.” That’s kinda the way I felt the last several days, watching folks invoke “Favores ampliari!” to bolster arguments holding one evening Mass on Immaculate Conception to satisfy both the requirements for Immaculate Conception and for the Second Sunday of Advent. Short story, I don’t think “Favores ampliari” means what some folks think it means, and I will set out why in due course.

Finally, while Cdl. Burke apparently thinks I am right, he also said of Fr. Z that “he’s very good”. Hmmm. Okay, I’ll settle for being “right”, but I’d rather be both “good” and “right”; so now I have to work on being “very good”.

Fortunately, I’ve got Fr. Z for a model.

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