Holy Days of Obligation: A Defense
With the approach of Solemn Feast of the Assumption of the BVM, American Catholics can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to the work USCCB. For this year, the Assumption, a holy day of obligation, falls on a Saturday. Ordinarily, this would mean—horrors!—that the Faithful must attend Mass on the Saturday of the feast and again the very next day on Sunday!
A burden worthy of the Pharisees it would be to attend Mass on two consecutive days. Surely the hearts of the martyrs in heaven weep for their posterity. While they faced lions, axes and guillotines, we in twenty-first century America must cope with an obligation to make time for Mass, once a year, two days in a row.
Thankfully, the Bishops’ Conference has come to our rescue. According to a 1992 decree of the USCCB, issued pursuant to Canon Law 1246, the “precept to attend Mass is abrogated” whenever the Assumption falls on either a Saturday or a Monday. Translation: You don’t “have to go” to Mass this August 15.
Similarly, whenever the Solemnities of Mary Mother of God (January 1) or All Saints (November 1) fall on a Saturday or Monday, your obligation to attend Mass is “abrogated.” Alas, this