Dispensation From Sunday Mass Faqs

What is a “dispensation”?

It is “the relaxation of a merely ecclesiastical (Church) law in a particular case.”

Who does the Bishop foresee possibly making use of the dispensation from physically attending Sunday Mass?

  • those who are over the age of 65;
  • those who have an underlying health condition;
  • those who are truly fearful that they might contract the virus; in this case, “truly fearful” is defined as those who have not gone out to a restaurant or visited people with whom they do not live since March, 2020.
  • those who are sick, including those who have tested positive for the coronavirus and those who were exposed for fifteen consecutive minutes or more to one who tested positive for COVID-19.

What is expected of a Catholic who makes use of the dispensation for a legitimate reason?

Since the Bishop has no authority to dispense from a Divine Law, in this case, the commandment requiring us to keep the Lord’s Day holy, one may consider the Divine Law fulfilled if, from 4 p.m. the Saturday before or on Sunday itself he/she:

  • watches a Sunday Mass on television or via livestream (visit www.rcbo.org for a complete list); or
  • spends at least thirty minutes in prayer, by saying the Rosary, reading the Scriptures or participating in another pious activity.

Is there anything else I should know?

  • Yes, the faithful are expected to adhere to the expectations laid out in canon 222 §1, that is, “to assist with the needs of the Church.” Financial support of one’s parish is essential whether one physically attends Mass or not.

 1 September 2020