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  #1  
Old May 29, '12, 10:01 am
Dale_M Dale_M is offline
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Default Excused absence from Sunday Mass

This thread concerns a recent Florida controversy. For persons not in the US, here is a little background. Girls State is a week long leadership camp for teenage students. There is a similar program for boys, and each US state has its own program. Both Girls State and Boys State are sponsored by the American Legion, which is a fraternal organization of military veterans and their spouses.

Okay, this concerns the Florida Girls State event, and a Catholic girl who refused to attend because they wouldn't make allowance for her to attend Mass.

Quote:
"I was shocked. This is basically discrimination," said Margeaux (Mar-go) Graham, 16, a junior at Umatilla High School, who was told that she would not be allowed to attend Sunday Mass while Girls State is hosted June 15-23 at Florida State University in Tallahassee, even though a Catholic cathedral is across the street from FSU.

Graham's mother, Mary, offered to make the trip to escort her daughter to church.

"The girls are not allowed to leave our program for any reason," said Robin Briere, department secretary-treasurer of the American Legion Auxiliary, who noted it would be an insurance liability to allow any of the 300 delegates to leave the premises.
http://www.dailycommercial.com/052212catholic

A local American Legion post commander called to see if arrangements could be made to have a priest go to the Girls State campus to offer Mass. However, he was rebuffed and angry words were exchanged.

My question, would this girl have qualified for an excused absence (I am sure its calles something different) from Mass on that particular Sunday? If so, what would be the requirements?

h/t GetReligion.org
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  #2  
Old May 29, '12, 10:24 am
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curlycool89 curlycool89 is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

I'd say no.

Just being busy with something else doesn't automatically qualify you for an excused absence, you'd have to be doing something that was required (ex - nurses who have to work long shifts that that cover every local Mass time) or something that you were morally responsible for (ex - taking care of a sick child).

This is an optional conference essentially. They could probably get sued for restricting religious liberty like that. Even employers have to make reasonable accommodations. This is well within the realm of reasonable considering that a Cathedral lies right next to them.
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  #3  
Old May 29, '12, 10:36 am
Mrs Sally Mrs Sally is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

The girl herself probably could have gotten a dispensation from her pastor because as a minor she has no control over the schedule or transportation.

It does seem odd though that an American Legion program would not include a window of time for religious services. Although that might open them up to needing to leave time on other days of non-Christians, transportation to houses of worship, bringing ministers into the event, and a whole bunch of other issues they would rather not deal with. OR, having kids constantly missing at all different times to attend religious services and whatever else they can get away will. I can see why they'd rather just say No.
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  #4  
Old May 29, '12, 10:36 am
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale_M View Post
This thread concerns a recent Florida controversy. For persons not in the US, here is a little background. Girls State is a week long leadership camp for teenage students. There is a similar program for boys, and each US state has its own program. Both Girls State and Boys State are sponsored by the American Legion, which is a fraternal organization of military veterans and their spouses.

Okay, this concerns the Florida Girls State event, and a Catholic girl who refused to attend because they wouldn't make allowance for her to attend Mass.


http://www.dailycommercial.com/052212catholic

A local American Legion post commander called to see if arrangements could be made to have a priest go to the Girls State campus to offer Mass. However, he was rebuffed and angry words were exchanged.

My question, would this girl have qualified for an excused absence (I am sure its calles something different) from Mass on that particular Sunday? If so, what would be the requirements?

h/t GetReligion.org
Ask your priest after Mass next Sunday. I have no idea if that would be granted a dispensation. I do know that I would pull all my support from such an organization because it's obvious that the higher-ups are stupid.
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  #5  
Old May 29, '12, 10:39 am
Luna Lovecraft's Avatar
Luna Lovecraft Luna Lovecraft is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs Sally View Post
The girl herself probably could have gotten a dispensation from her pastor because as a minor she has no control over the schedule or transportation.
My thinking.
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  #6  
Old May 29, '12, 10:43 am
Digitonomy Digitonomy is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by curlycool89 View Post
This is well within the realm of reasonable considering that a Cathedral lies right next to them.
My guess is that for liability reasons the students are prohibited from leaving the campus during the event.
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  #7  
Old May 29, '12, 10:56 am
theyoungmonk theyoungmonk is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

I would say a big NO to that. As She is not ill, doing essential work or traveling too far from a church. The church is phisically close so there is no actual barrier in that way, as this event isent mandatory then it dosent seem to create the nessacary situation.Thus it is better not to go if the obligation cant be kept. I cant belive they thought a priest would be able to come to say mass for one girl, that just seems gross stupidity IMHO.
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  #8  
Old May 29, '12, 11:00 am
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by theyoungmonk View Post
I would say a big NO to that. As She is not ill, doing essential work or traveling too far from a church. The church is phisically close so there is no actual barrier in that way, as this event isent mandatory then it dosent seem to create the nessacary situation.Thus it is better not to go if the obligation cant be kept. I cant belive they thought a priest would be able to come to say mass for one girl, that just seems gross stupidity IMHO.
I would assume that she was not the only Catholic at the conference.
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  #9  
Old May 29, '12, 11:00 am
St Francis St Francis is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digitonomy View Post
My guess is that for liability reasons the students are prohibited from leaving the campus during the event.
But they also seemed to be antagonistic to having a priest come over and celebrate Mass....


Personally, I would seriously investigate any sort of actvity which would antagonistically refuse to allow a priest to come and celebrate Mass. I have heard some bad things about some leadership conferences for teens as it is, and this would set my suspicions right up!


OTOH, I think that a situation like this might well qualify for a dispensation from Mass, so if it was otherwise all right (and the person who was antagonistic may have just been feeling overwhelmed at that moment after all), I would go ahead and ask my pastor about it.
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  #10  
Old May 29, '12, 11:13 am
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Tarpeian Rock Tarpeian Rock is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by theyoungmonk View Post
I would say a big NO to that. As She is not ill, doing essential work or traveling too far from a church. The church is phisically close so there is no actual barrier in that way, as this event isent mandatory then it dosent seem to create the nessacary situation.Thus it is better not to go if the obligation cant be kept. I cant belive they thought a priest would be able to come to say mass for one girl, that just seems gross stupidity IMHO.


If you read the article, the proposal was for a priest to come and say Mass for ALL the Catholic girls, not just the one. It is amazing that the organizer, Ms. Briere, identifies as a Catholic and yet cannot see the quandary she has created and the unfair position she has put this young woman in.

I'm quite sure that if any young Muslim women were involved, their special needs were most certainly met. Any Catholic churches sponsoring this activity need to revive their position, and Ms. Briere's bishop should have some serious words with her.
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  #11  
Old May 29, '12, 11:28 am
Cristiano Cristiano is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

I am quite sure that the girl could have asked dispensation from her pastor because she is a minor and her freedom is limited. The problem is with the American Legion that allows idiots to make calls like this. I doubt that such an association would undermine an individual religious obligations in such a manner; however, now they come out smelling like garbage instead of roses. I do not think that they should have to accommodate a priest to celebrate Mass there but they should have found alternatives for the girl to take two hours off out of nine days. The American Legion lost credibility especially in the view that the preamble of their constitution says : For God and Country we associate ourselves together for the following purposes:.......
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  #12  
Old May 29, '12, 12:57 pm
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale_M View Post
My question, would this girl have qualified for an excused absence (I am sure its calles something different) from Mass on that particular Sunday? If so, what would be the requirements?
The answer to this question is: maybe.

The correct process would be for the girl (and/or her parent) to request a dispensation from her pastor.

It would be within his authority to grant or deny it.

Can.* 1245 Without prejudice to the right of diocesan bishops mentioned in ⇒ can. 87, for a just cause and according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop, a pastor can grant in individual cases a dispensation from the obligation of observing a feast day or a day of penance or can grant a commutation of the obligation into other pious works
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  #13  
Old May 29, '12, 1:10 pm
PatriceA PatriceA is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

This is the latest on the situation: http://the-american-catholic.com/201...-the-eucharis/

While the initial response to this situation was unforunate, my local American Legion was a tremendous help to me personally when my husband was deployed. I'm not one to be so quick with totally dismissing this wonderful veterans organization over this situation. Although its great they offer this retreat for young girls, that's not the main purpose of the organization nor should it ever be. If it creates such a dilemna, better for the American Legion to stop the retreats altogether and refocus just on veteran's needs.
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  #14  
Old May 29, '12, 2:50 pm
Digitonomy Digitonomy is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriceA View Post
This is the latest on the situation: http://the-american-catholic.com/201...-the-eucharis/
It was good to read about the student's situation in her own words, although by assuming that all Protestants are the same she fell victim to a fallacy similar to the one apparently accepted by the Girls' State organizers.
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  #15  
Old May 29, '12, 3:19 pm
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Kathryn Ann Kathryn Ann is offline
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Default Re: Excused absence from Sunday Mass



Sadly, this seems like just more evidence of how completely secular our country has become, so that the thought never occurred to those planning an event of this size to allow for (imagine this) people wishing to attend their place of worship on a Sunday or time to which they are accustomed. Further, even if the participants had a parent or chaperone willing to take complete responsibility, the girls are still denied the privilege of leaving temporarily to attend a place for worship. Perhaps the planners have never heard of permission slips.

And why, if the planners are so concerned with the girls leaving the area, could not some time and place be alloted within the confines of the designated building for the clergy to come and minister to the participants?

I agree with several others here that stated a dispensation might be something a person could ask their priest about before- hand, but it's sad that this would even be necessary.

While I understand the "planners" reasoning behind security issues, I can't imagine why, for example, the conference could not simply begin, say, at one p.m. on a Sunday (allowing for Christians wanting to attend their parishes nearby) and end on a Friday before sundown, freeing those of other religions to attend their own services. If that was not possible, there must be a way to allow for those who need to attend Mass or other preferred place of worship. It's not the details that matter so much here as the obvious dis-regard for religious feeling.
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