Redemptionis Sacramentum 167

Let’s wrap up celebrations without a priest:

[167.] “Similarly, it is unthinkable on the Lord’s Day to substitute for Holy Mass either ecumenical celebrations of the word or services of common prayer with Christians from the . . . Ecclesial Communities, or even participation in these Communities’ liturgical services.” [Ecclesia de Eucharistia 30; cf. also Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Directory for the application of the principles and norms on ecumenism 115] Should the diocesan Bishop out of necessity authorize the participation of Catholics for a single occasion, let pastors take care lest confusion arise among the Catholic faithful concerning the necessity of taking part at Mass at another hour of the day even in such circumstances, on account of the obligation.[Cf. Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Directory for the application of the principles and norms on ecumenism 115]

This is a difficult situation. Other churches are able to maintain ordained clergy in places where Catholics lack a priest. The long-term efficacy of Protestant worship is undeniable: the Word, the recovery of the sacramental traditions in many instances. What would happen if Catholics began attending Protestant worship on Sundays? Even in places where Mass was readily available. What would that say about the local efficacy and fruitfulness of the liturgy? It would be a difficult thing were those circumstances ever to come to pass. It probably makes the liturgical effort for communities without a resident priest even more critical.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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