Monday, August 17, 2015
I HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH OUR AMERICAN BISHOPS
I was ordained in 1980 and all the Holy Days of Obligation were still in place no matter what day of the week these fell, be it Saturday or Monday. Ascension Thursday based upon the New Testament's count that Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after Easter was still on Thursday and still a Holy Day of Obligation! (However Corpus Christi which traditionally falls on the Thursday after the Sunday Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity had already been transferred to the Sunday in the USA after Holy Trinity, but Corpus Christi had never been obligatory in the USA, so why it was moved remains a mystery).
In every parish I have been, Holy Days of Obligation were well attended as though it was a Sunday, which is what the "obligation" to attend means. There were no problems with it. No one was complaining about one more Holy Day of Obligation during the week that a Catholic had to endure! I never heard of bishops or priests complaining about it either.
One of the best attended Holy Days of Obligation was Ascension Thursday. Our Masses, all of the ones we had, were attended as though it was a Sunday. Marian Holy Days were also well attended even if on a Saturday or Monday! No complaints from the laity about it!
Well, the bishops decided to fix once again something that wasn't broken and in the process have made a mess of something that wasn't dirty.
They said if the Holy Day fell on a Saturday or Monday that the "obligation" to attend was removed and that priests didn't have to schedule extra Masses. Really? How stupid was that?
So this past Saturday was the Solemnity of the Assumption. Guess what? This once extremely well attended Holy Day of Obligation became for this year and also for next year (as it is a leap year and Assumption will fall on a Monday) non obligatory.
I had scheduled a vigil Mass on Friday and could only schedule one Mass on Saturday due to conflicts in our schedule for the use of the Church Saturday morning (which would not have occurred if the day was obligatory). At Friday night's Vigil, we had less than half of a church full of faithful and on Saturday morning the same number. Normally and with more Masses scheduled, many more, our Masses would be quite full. Thanks USA bishops for the decline in Mass attendance for this marvelous solemnity.
On top of that I did not tell our congregation that the obligation to attend Mass was removed when I promoted the Mass at the announcements the previous Sunday. I simply said that Saturday was a Holy Day for the Solemnity of the Assumption and then stated the Mass times. But the religious calendar our parishioners have states on it that the obligation was removed. So I couldn't fool the majority into coming!
On Saturday night I did have a few people confess they missed the Assumption Mass not intentionally but because they simply forgot (which causes the missing of the Mass if it had been obligatory to become a venial sin rather than an intention mortal sin). I had to tell them they didn't sin at all since there was no obligation to attend Mass and there is no mortal sin in forgetting something. Then they asked me why it wasn't an obligation and of course I have to give them our bishops' silly song and dance about it which puzzles them and me too!