Can I Attend an SSPX Church, Since My Parish Is Closed?

Q1:  In these trying times when our Archbishop is denying the sacraments to the faithful, what do you think of attending Mass at the nearby SSPX church?  It’s my understanding that currently all their sacraments excepting marriage are licit.

The SSPX priests are complying completely with the state law, yet are being creative enough to meet the needs of their flock at the same time.  Our pastors and our Archbishop have turned a deaf ear to our pleas that they utilize similar creative ways within the law to feed the flock, nor are they commenting upon any time at which they might allow the laity to return to Mass. –Brooke

Q2: Thank you for taking my question. Does canon 844.2 apply to Sedevacantist chapels and churches?  I understand I have no obligation to attend Mass but out of devotional reasons I would like to attend.  Every diocesan, Eastern Rite, Ordinariate, Orthodox, SSPX, etc. Mass/Divine liturgy in my area has shut down.  The only liturgy left is a Sedevacantist church. Am I permitted to attend Mass? –Spencer Continue reading

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Can Priests Cancel Public Masses, and Say a Private Mass Instead?

Q:  I’d like to help my fellow parishioners clarify the difference between “canceling all Masses,” and priests who are saying a “private” Mass and either recording it or live-streaming it for the faithful to watch from home.

Would this be a correct statement: It’s not that Masses are cancelled; it’s that the faithful coming to church to celebrate puts everyone at risk of spreading this virus … thus Mass continues to be celebrated privately, often live-streamed or recorded and posted online, and the faithful are encouraged to follow the local laws to stay-at-home.

More succinctly, is it accurate to say: “Banning public gatherings does not cancel Mass; it changes how it is celebrated”?  Thank you. –Julie Continue reading

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Pope Francis’ Letter to the Priests of Rome, on Ministry During the Pandemic

Dear Readers,

A number of people have asked about Pope Francis’ March 13 letter to the priests of Rome, which was mentioned briefly in “Do Bishops Have the Authority to Cancel Masses Completely?”  It appears that this letter has not been published on any English-language website.  For that reason, it seems useful to post it here. Continue reading

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Holy Week in the Era of Coronavirus

Q:  The pastor of my parish told me that your recent article is wrong.  He says that both Cardinal Sarah [Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship] and Pope Francis approved of the bishops’ decision to cancel all Masses.  The pastor claims that this is proven by Cardinal Sarah’s decree about how to handle Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

This doesn’t make any sense to me.  What am I missing?…  Can you figure out why my pastor thinks that the Pope okayed what the bishops in [my country] have done? –Dean Continue reading

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Do Bishops Have the Authority to Cancel Masses Completely?

Q1: The Irish Bishops have decided to cancel all public Masses and have told us that we have a dispensation from Sunday Mass obligations as a result of the Coronavirus.  Is this permissible? –Eileen

Q2:  As a follow up to your most recent question/answer on receiving communion, can a Bishop cancel Masses for an indefinite period of time, essentially prohibit all public worship on an open- ended basis, and dispense EVERYONE generally from Sunday Mass attendance and Holy Days of Obligation? It seems there has to be some limitation on this authority. –Marc

Q3: The Bishop here in Singapore decided to cancel and/or suspend all public Masses indefinitely.  Given that under Canon Law the faithful – who are not otherwise under some legal impediment or sanction – have a right to receive the sacraments (Canon 213), including assisting at Mass and receiving the Holy Eucharist, and bearing in mind especially that Sunday is the “primordial holy day of obligation” (Canon  1246 §1), it’s not clear to me whether a diocesan bishop even has authority to cancel or suspend public Masses at his own bidding and discretion.  Pursuant to which provision in Canon Law may a diocesan bishop suspend or cancel public Masses? –Ian Continue reading

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