Faith/Spirituality Forum: Sunday obligation
Sunday obligation QUESTION from Mac September 6, 2001 Dear Sir
I am a convert of two years now and have a question about our Sunday obligation. I would like to know if it is permisable to plan a hunting trip that would make it virtually imposible to make it to Mass. I would be six to eight hours from the closest church on Sat. night when Mass is offered. I know I have to go to Mass unless reasonable excused.I usually can make the Fri. night Mass in the area I hunt, But this trip really needs to be deep in the forest if I am to be successful. I'm not looking for a ticket to sin. I'm looking for guidance. I will, of course, submit myself to the church in all areas of my life. To include hunting.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on September 10, 2001 Dear Mr. Mac:
No it would not be permissible to do that. The only valid excuses to miss Mass, without getting a special commutation, are things like illness, medical emergency, weather making it impossible to get to Mass, car breaking down and no way to otherwise get to Mass, employer requiring us to work on some Saturday evening and Sunday morning, etc. In other words the only valid excuses are things of which we have no control over that keeps us from getting to Mass.
Note on being required to work on both Saturday Evening and Sunday morning -- if this is only once in a while, one need not worry about it, but if this is a permanent schedule then one needs to ask his priest for a commutation -- that is, to commute Sunday obligation to another day. In this case the person would be required to attend Mass on this alternative day as if it was Sunday.
Going hunting, which is a purely voluntary recreational activity, can never be a valid excuse to avoid Sunday obligation or to ask for commutation that I can see.
I'd suggest that you take your hunting trip on Friday/Saturday instead of Saturday/Sunday.
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