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Daily Catholic Question

How much Mass fulfills my Sunday obligation?

The present Code of Canon Law reads: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass." It doesn't say "part" or "parts" of the Mass. The expectation is that the person will attend a complete Mass. A Catholic Catechism quotes the canon and states, "Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin."

Before Vatican II, moral theologians and canonists would talk about the three principal parts of Mass as the Offertory, Consecration and Communion. If you missed any one of those parts, they wrote, you would not have fulfilled the obligation of hearing Mass.

Today, canonists and liturgists do not use that terminology. They speak of the gathering, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the commissioning as the main divisions of Mass.

And moralists are more likely to speak of substantial observance of the law and what that might mean. They would assert that the law imposes a serious obligation. But some would question whether a person seriously or gravely violates the law if on one occasion he or she does not attend Sunday Mass. And all moralists would acknowledge that to miss a few minutes would not be a serious matter.

If you look at your missalette or recall your experience on Sundays, the penitential rite is part of the Mass. It takes place after the entrance song, right after the priest has entered the sanctuary and greeted the people. It can take different forms. One commonly used is the confession of fault (Confiteor) and Lord, have mercy (Kyrie). So if you come after these prayers, you are late for Mass.

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Monday, April 22, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 4/21/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 4/23/2013


Martyrdom of John the Baptist: The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life? 
<p>This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation or repentance, of salvation.</p> American Catholic Blog Just as my children become members of my family when I bring them into the world, so too our baptism incorporates us into the family of the Church. This supernatural membership prevents us from being orphans who have to fend for themselves in the spiritual wilderness.

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