View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Canon Law Limits # of Masses Priests Can Say

I've heard it said that priests in the Diocese of Rochester could say more Sunday Masses than the number permitted by the Bishop of Rochester (he said three). It's one way people attack the Bishop.

But then I was referred to the Code of Canon Law.

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.

§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.

Three times on Sundays? Isn't that what Bishop Clark said?

If you celebrate a Saturday evening Mass, and three Masses on Sunday, that would mean four Masses. But then, if that Saturday Mass is counted as a Sunday Mass, would you only then be permitted to say two on Sunday itself? There may be some flexibility with that, and so four Masses might be permitted. I don't know: I need a canon lawyer's input on that one.

But still, if Bishop Clark says a priest should say only three Masses on Sunday, he's citing Canon Law.


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