Abrogate a Holy Day


Dictionary.com defines Abrogate as: 1. to abolish by formal or official means; annul by an authoritative act; repeal: to abrogate a law. 2. to put aside; put an end to Can a Holy Day be abrogated?


Well, what exactly are you asking? Do you mean can the Church suppress the celebration of a Holy Day? In general, yes, since that’s a disciplinary matter (unless of course you’re talking about Sunday, which comes from Divine Law, and could not be suppressed). Please clarify your question though, so that we can give you a better answer.



Can a National Bishops Conference of a country abrogate a Holy Day?


I suspect what you are asking about is actually the obligation to attend Mass on on certain
days. If so, the answer is yes. National bishops conferences have been doing that since before Vatican II.

If you are asking if a solemnity can be abrogated entirely, I don’t know. It can be transferred to a different day and it needn’t be a holy day of obligation. But I don’t know if it can be removed from the calendar.


The Bishops Conference has no authority to change the designation of a day on the Roman Calendar - whether it be a feast day, a solemnity or a commemoration. The Conference does have the authority to decide which days are officially recognized as Holy Days of Obligation for the country. They do this with Vatican approval. Along with that authority, the conference decides which conditions determine if the obligation to attend Mass can be abrogated.

For example, in the US, this is the rule that was promulgated:

In addition to Sunday, the days to be observed as holy days of obligation in the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America, in conformity with canon 1246, are as follows:
January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God;
Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the Ascension;
August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
November 1, the solemnity of All Saints;
December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception;
December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.

Note that only three of the Holy Days of Obligation have to option to abrogate the requirement for Mass.

Even though this was decided by the USCCB, it was approved by the Vatican.


Corki, some of the local Catholic ladies had been wondering about certain Holy Days being abolished. Your response is very reassuring!


The Vatican has decreed that, besides Sundays there are ten Holy days of Obligation:

Can. 1246 §1. Sunday, on which by apostolic tradition the paschal mystery is celebrated, must be observed in the universal Church as the primordial holy day of obligation. The following days must also be observed: the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension, the Body and Blood of Christ, Holy Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, Saint Joseph, Saint Peter and Saint Paul the Apostles, and All Saints.

§2. With the prior approval of the Apostolic See, however, the conference of bishops can suppress some of the holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.

In Canada, the only Holy Days of Obligation besides Sundays are Christmas and Mary, Mother of God (Jan. 1). A few were moved to Sundays (Epiphany, the Ascension, the Body and Blood of Christ) and the rest have been suppressed, that is, even if All Saints, St. Joseph, St. Peter & St. Paul, Assumption & Immaculate Conception are celebrated on the appropriate days they are not Holy Days of Obligation.


This is a question that came up on another forum. Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is Divine Law, but is having the obligation to attend Mass on that day as well? It (the obligation) has already been waived if one attends Mass the vespere (evening) before. Couldn’t they extend this period to weekdays, for example? Or dropped altogether? (It’s presumed here one has a Mass that he can attend.)


As I understood the question, what was being asked was whether the observance of Holy Days could be “abrogated,” i.e. done away with. I responded that yes, broadly speaking, that was a disciplinary matter, however the observance of the Lord’s Day is not simply a discipline, but is rooted in Divine Law. I wasn’t really talking about the juridical reality of a Mass obligation (indeed, in other sui iuris particular Churches, the “obligation” is not quite so strenuous, per the Code of Canons of Eastern Churches:

Canon 881 - §1. The Christian faithful are bound by the obligation to participate on Sundays and feast days in the Divine Liturgy, or according to the prescriptions or legitimate customs of their own Church sui iuris, in the celebration of the divine praises.
§2. In order for the Christian faithful to fulfill this obligation more easily, the available time runs from the evening of the vigil until the end of the Sunday or feast day.
§3. The Christian faithful are strongly recommended to receive the Divine Eucharist on these days and indeed more frequently, even daily.
§4. The Christian faithful should abstain from those labors or business matters which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s day, or to the proper relaxation of mind and body.


So I wasn’t talking about the obligation to attend Mass per se so much as I was the moral obligation to observe the Lord’s day. I apologize for any confusion, although the original question wasn’t altogether clear as I read it.



I’m not sure what you mean. Rome says that we have the obligation to attend Mass on all Holy Days of Obligation (all Sundays and any of the ten that our National Conference of Bishops decrees) and she gives us 32 hours in which to meet our obligation for each of those days.


Then I should be the one apologizing for adding to the confusion, :slight_smile: as we went from Holy Days (other than Sunday) to Sunday itself. Yes, I agree there is the moral obligation to observe the Lord’s Day as written in Mosaic Law, before we even had a Mass.

That’s my understanding as well.


Here in the Philippines, unlike some countries, March 19 - St Joseph, June 29 - Saints Peter and Paul, August 15 - Assumption, and November 1 - All Saints are NOT Holy Days of Obligation. They have not been transferred to Sundays or any other time. They are simply not Holy Days of Obligation.


As they predict a major snowstorm in the Chicago area tonight and tomorrow, I checked around for vigil Masses for tonight and out of five surrounding parishes there is only one such Mass. And most of them only have one Mass in the a.m. As most people don’t work on New Years Day, I don’t understand the rationale behind the very few Masses available to meet our obligation on that day. And it is an obligation here, although Jan 1 can be a different celebration in regards the EF and OF calendars.


With this evening’s 5:30 Mass there are 4 M,MoG Masses in the parish where we’re visiting. There were 8 Christmas Masses.


Here in the Province of Los Angeles, January 1, 2014, the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, not a holy day of obligation.


Friendly reminder that just because a certain solemnity isn’t a Holy Day of Obligation in your Bishops’ Conference doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to Holy Mass that day :slight_smile:

When I first converted to Catholicism I only went on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, which I now realize was a terrible mistake: I was missing out on the beautiful solemnities of Sts. Peter & Paul, All Souls Day, Corpus Christi, etc.


I presume it’s not obligatory for visitors as well, for example, those who come for the Rose Bowl Parade and such?


It is true that the obligation has been dispensed by the the bishops of the dioceses in the Province of Los Angeles but there are plenty of people who are attending the Mass anyway and it is still being celebrated as a solemnity.

The obligation is dispensed but the solemnity is not abrogated. (In fact the obligation is not abrogated either; it’s merely dispensed.)


That is correct. Canon Law defines a traveler as one who leaves his domicile or quasi-domicile, i.e. his residence, without loss of domicile, and goes somewhere else. A traveler is not bound by the laws of his place of residence in this case. In other words, if you go on vacation, since you’ve not moved out of your house, you’re still considered to live where you live, and you’re bound by the laws of wherever you’re traveling, and not where you came from (except in certain circumstances which don’t apply here).



So an LAer who visits another part of the country is under no obligation to attend Mass on Jan 1 as well as another who visits LA on Jan 1 is under no obligation either. Is this correct?

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