Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bad Assumptions

Along the lines of the traditional Assumption Day fighting I wrote about yesterday, there seemed to be more than a little lightly-veiled venom over the 1994 decision which removed the obligation from 1 January, 15 August and All Saints' when those feasts fall on a Saturday or Monday.

OK, I guess something must be wrong with me, because I have to ask: So what if Assumption isn't an obligatory feast?It doesn't mean you can't go to mass, it just means that you don't have to. Somebody tell me: when did sole obligation become so sacrosanct?

As usual, the CWNews commentors are first in war, last in peace and eternally devoid of substance:
Clearly, Holy Days of Obligation still exists for you if they occur during the week. Such is not the case with the post-Conciliar Mahony Church. My wife was told that it wasn't necessary to attend Mass on August 15 by the local Novus Ordo Church. Fortunately, the nearest Byzantine Catholic Church does not suffer from a selective interpretation of Holy Days....
Um, it's selective when one deviates from the licit norm, and no obligation on Monday, August 15 was the licit norm in this country -- and much of the world now, for that matter.... Think about it: in America, Epiphany is the Sunday between the 2nd and the 8th January; Corpus Christi is on a Sunday as opposed to a Thursday; and now, the Ascension is a Sunday in 29 of the 34 US provinces.... And no holy day was (is) less attended than Ascension Thursday.

Italy has about 40 Holy Days of Obligation a year. You think they go to each one? Yeah, right.

So is "MahonyChurch" (whose "selective" decision, after all, received the recognitio of the Holy See -- John Paul "the Great" being Pope at the time) being heresiarchical or just Catholic? Hmm.

Forgive the vent. I'm not progressive. I just deplore stupidity in all its incarnations, lay and clerical.

On the topic of Mary, Bank of England, Tony finds another recollection of the annual Assumption Stampede in Atlantic City:
yesterday was the traditional "Blessing of the Sea" mass held in atlantic city; last year i served as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist and since it was before my blogging time (i started blogging in november). i was one of about 35 ministers, and about 2000 people were in attendance. it was mayhem - i don't know if i'll ever get over it. they had a statute of the Blessed Mother with money pinned all over it, parading it around for veneration, people clamoring and climbing over one another to reach out and touch the statue - and i could barely cast my gaze on it...i was mortified at this behavior and had never seen anything quite like it.

the Sacrament of Eucharist finally arrived and as *luck* would have it, i was stationed by the prayer candles (light a candle, say a pray for a buck and after mass, blow any lit candle out and take it home with you for a memento of the event) and after having received Jesus, some folks went over to buy candles, started talking about what casino they were going to meet up at, milling around, talking....
Now if you're surprised about that, you don't know Italian people. We do that because Jesus has called us Italians to be the social light of the world.

Hey, his gang loved our kind so much they moved the Really Big Show to Rome, right?



Blogger Andrew said...

My problem with lifting the obligation is that the priests here in the Bay Area use it as an excuse not to offer a Mass at a time one can attend. My favorite two examples: Several years ago, when All Saints was not obligatory that year, I arranged my commute to be at Mission San Jose in time for evening Mass, only to be told that the Mass was canceled so they could use the building for a costume party, and to be told by a smug usher that it wasn't a Holyday of Obligation--something I knew quite well. And this was not my parish, so I didn't have access to a bulletin before hand (this was before ubiquitous pdf bulletins on the web). Even better, though, was New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 2005--a Saturday. At 5:15, several of us were gathered outside St Mary's (the Cathedral) in San Francisco for the normally scheduled vigil Mass--I figured it would either be the feast of Mary, Mother of God, or the Epiphany. We found a notice from the priests that there was no Saturday evening Mass (and I'd checked the web for any announcements--but St Mary's doesn't seem to have an active webmaster). This group of chilly strangers all trouped over to St Dominic's--the Dominicans weren't lazy (or hung over, or whatever the diocesan problem was). Honestly, how hard is it to say Mass, especially when that's what you get paid to do? As for the obligation, I go or not depending on my work load and my family life. I really don't need a bishop to tell me I don't have to go.

16/8/05 20:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The priests here also use it as an excuse not to say mass for the holy day. Not only that, they don't bother to say in the previous Sunday mass whether it's been cancelled or not, leaving you to phone up the secretary (if she answers) or guess. And when you do they tell you in a sort of smart-ass way, why, didn't you know, it's not obligatory, you d-o-n-t have to go (and the implication is that you're scrupulous or something).

Funny thing is I've been Catholic going on 20 years now and I've never met a scrupulous person. There must be one somewhere but I've seen thousands of people who'd get in line no matter what they'd done...every single person gets in line everywhere at Holy Communion time. And you know you've seen it too. They're not all sinless--90% of the ones between 20 and 50 are on birth control.

17/8/05 00:09  
Blogger Sr. Bernadette M. Reis, fsp said...

Actually, I believe that the number of Holy Days of Obligation that Rome has asked to be observed was set at 2 a number of years ago. The United States Bishops petitioned to keep all of the Holy Days of Obligation that were currently on the US calendar. Therefore, the US Bishops, in this case, petitioned to preserve these days in the United States, not to get rid of them. Therefore, when a Holy Day falls close to a Sunday, it is up the local ordinary to choose wheter or not to make it a Holy Day of Obligation or not.
I think we need to cut the bishops some slack here as well as to be aware of the entire story.... Talk about Assumption--assumptions never help anyone...

17/8/05 02:53  
Blogger Andrew said...

I think part of the problem here is the disconnect between the ecclesiastical world and the work world. I've lived in both (seminarian for 7 1/2 years; worker bee now for 15 years), and I am convinced that the vast majority in the ecclesiastical establishment do not understand the everyday world of commuters. There simply is no effort--and not even a hint that such an effort might be needed--to offer Mass on special days at times and places accessible to commuters(let's forget the "obligation" issue, since for me, again, I don't need a bishop to tell me I don't have to do something that obviously I don't have to do given the circumstances of my life). It would be fairly simple to designate a few churches as magnet churches where, on a few, selected holy day, Mass was offered at times that allowed commuters to go to Mass and still work and get home to family. The local clergy from other parishes could help out. But if you don't have to work for a living, never have to worry about getting fired, never have to worry about a commute, never have to fit in errands and keep up the house, then you're not going to consider that Mass at 8:30 am and 5:30 pm in the suburban parish does not really fit the normal person's schedule. And lest anyone accuse me of being too harsh toward parish priests, I'll offer in my defense that I've lived in many rectories, and I know still a few priests: I know what their life is like, and it may be lonely but it is no way whatsoever exposed to the realities of American life. As for cutting bishops slack--Sister, those guys are so clueless (for the most part), I'll give them all the slack they want and they still won't get their act together.

17/8/05 12:45  

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