Canon Law and Arriving Late for Mass

Q1: If you’re late for Mass on Sunday, how late is too late?  As a child I was told you can’t miss the Gospel.  Later in life I heard you can’t miss the Offertory.

If you do miss the Gospel/Offertory, are you bound to stay for the next Mass?  Or just the part of the next Mass that you had missed?  What do you do if the Mass you were late for was the last Mass? –Timothy

Q2:  I have a parishioner who comes to daily Mass just in time for Holy Communion. I have asked why she doesn’t attend the entire Mass. She said she tries to get up earlier but just can’t.

I then informed her that according to the Church’s teaching, we are not supposed to receive Holy Communion if we miss the Gospel Reading….  If you are going to come to Mass, the Church teaches you are to be here for the entire liturgy.

​Can you help me​ with where it states in Canon Law about the rules of receiving Holy Communion in this instance?  I was hoping you could help me because I cannot find the exact paragraph. –Father M. Continue reading

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How Can You Tell a Real Law from an Illegal Decree?

Q: In this period of such confusion in the Church, you sometimes point to the law as the final answer on the subject.  Other times, though, you have criticized a law as being unjust and said that it must be disobeyed or at least ignored.

I’m not disagreeing with your reasoning, but could you give some general pointers on how to identify a law as “unjust,” and how to know when we ought to challenge or disregard it? –Richie Continue reading

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How Many Masses Can a Priest Say on Sundays?

Q1:  I recently received notice from a local parish that since the state has ordered that no more than ten people may attend any religious service, there will only be one Mass on Sunday.  It said a priest can only offer a second Mass the same day if at least 20 will be assisting.

The exact words in the notice are “…by Church law, priests are not allowed to binate or trinate (that is to say a 2nd or a 3rd Mass on the same day) for less than 20 faithful.  Thus we cannot put more than one Mass on Sunday.”

I looked online and only found this:
Can. 905.1. A priest is not permitted to celebrate the Eucharist more than once a day except in cases where the law permits him to celebrate or concelebrate more than once on the same day.
Can. 905.2. If there is a shortage of priests, the local ordinary can allow priests to celebrate twice a day for a just cause, or if pastoral necessity requires it, even three times on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

?  Thank you for any assistance. –Astrid

Q2: Thank you for your articles regarding the limiting of the Sacraments in the time of COVID. It was exactly what my soul needed after a night of weeping when my parish announced it would have a lottery for seats at Christmas Masses.

I have a follow-up question on your response to the question from Philip in this article.  I understand that signing up for Masses is one way to mitigate crowds.  However, once all of those spots are filled week after week, and many of the faithful are essentially shut out from the celebration of the Eucharist time and again, shouldn’t the clergy have some obligation to add opportunities for Mass?

My parish is the cathedral, and we have only five Masses, all at 30% capacity and we have three priests, two deacons, and the Bishop available.  I’m sincerely devastated by the response of our churches here in the US… –Laina Continue reading

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Re-post: Can We Receive Holy Communion Twice on Christmas Day?

Dear Readers, as Catholics we can receive the Eucharist twice on Christmas day, as well as all other days of the year (as this article explains). If you’re able to attend Mass freely this year, perhaps you could consider attending a second Mass and receiving Our Lord again–for the intention of one of those millions of Catholics around the world who tragically are unable to get to church at all?

Q: When we were kids, we were told that on Christmas Day, we were allowed to receive Holy Communion twice, if we attended two Masses.  The same was true for Easter.  Is this still allowed?  –Margie Continue reading

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Re-post: Confession and General Absolution

(For years, readers have returned to this article again and again in the weeks just before Christmas, which would indicate that the problem it addresses still persists.  And now that the Catholic faith and the Church’s sacramental life are being entirely jettisoned by some clergy in some parts of the world “because of the virus,” the need to reiterate the spiritual importance of individual and integral confession has become even greater.  That’s why this is being re-posted here once again.  A blessed and happy Christmas to all readers!)

Q: Last year, I visited my relatives at Christmas time, and we all went to their parish to a communal penance service before Christmas. There were probably almost a hundred people there, and only one priest. He didn’t hear each person’s confession, as we expected. Instead, he stood near the altar, said some prayers, and blessed all of us. Then he told us we were absolved of our sins, and that was it. Was that priest wrong to do what he did? Did God really forgive us our sins?  –Robert Continue reading

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