Ascension travel dilemma

I have a quick question, and I hope that somebody out there has an answer!

In our diocese, the feast of the Ascension is a day of obligation. However, my son has traveled to Annapolis, Maryland, where the feast is transferred to Sunday. He’ll be there through Thursday.

Does he have to go to Mass tomorrow, or is he released from the obligation because he is in a different diocese?

The strict letter of the law, as I understand it, is that you “reside in” the Diocese that you woke up in, this morning. So, if he wakes up in Annapolis, Maryland, where the obligation does not exist, he’s “off the hook” so to speak.

However, he would gain extra graces and favour in the eyes of Our Lady (not to mention you, his own mother) if he were to make a point of going to Mass that day, anyway. :wink:

I hope this helps you. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the reply, jmcrae! I think he’ll probably go to Mass anyway, but it’s nice to know.

Too late to make this observation, I guess, but even if he went to Mass in a diocese that has transferred the Feast to Sunday, he won’t be attending a Feast of the Ascension Mass – just the regular Thursday weekday Mass.

I know, 'cause that’s what I got at noon today! But I felt like I should go, anyway. . . :wink:

Note that canon law specifies that any mass on the day or the evening before satisfies the obligation.

Even if it is not the “dedicated” (“designated” would probably be a better word) Mass readings? (I’m not challenging you, I just am really wondering because, for instance, I’ve always been told that attending a Nuptial Mass on Saturday evening doesn’t “count” as fulfilling our Sunday obligation unless the Sunday readings are chosen.)

Thank you!

We’ve been through this a few times on other threads. A search should turn them up. I’ll just give you the law:

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

Any mass, any rite so long as it is on the day or the eve. The day ends at mid-night. Most say the eve begins at 4pm, but there is some argument on this. [It even counts if the lector reads the wrong readings. Don’t ask how I know :o]

jmcrae:

I remember reading somewhere that a person is subject to his/her Ordinary of residence, regardless of physical location. That is, if in your home diocese the Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on Thursday, then you are obliged to attend mass on Thursday, not the follow Sunday. I could be wrong though . . . I don’t know if there is a particular canon law sectoni on that.

Chris

I remember reading here a post from Cameron Lansing, who is a canon lawyer in the Church, he wrote one time that “residence” with regard to travellers is defined as where you woke up that morning.

Now, looking back, I’m not sure if he was referring only to gypsies, or to any kind of travellers, but it seems to make sense that you would be bound by the laws of the place where you are, rather than the laws of the place that you came from - that seems to be common sense.

I know this is late, and won’t help the OP, but this issue does seem to come-up around every Holy Day of Obligation (moved or not). Simply for future reference:

See canon 12.2 which states that persons who are actually present in a territory are exempt from universal laws which do not have force in that territory.

So a person who finds himself in Annapolis MD on a day which is not-a-holy-day-of-obligation would not have an obligation to attend Mass on that day.

Actually, I think that’s a reference to “vagi” (literally, vagrants but in the legal sense, not the offensive sense of that word). This word refers to people who have no place to call home.

“Travellers” refers to a different group of people. Travellers are people who do indeed have a place where they call home, but they are simply not in that place at the moment.

That might sound a bit too obvious, but there is a difference, and there are times in canon law (like parish residence when seeking to get married) when the distinction is important.

Thanks Fr. David. I looked a bit lower than 12.2 and found Canon 13.2, which states:

§2. Travelers are not bound:

1/ by the particular laws of their own territory as long as they are absent from it unless either the transgression of those laws causes harm in their own territory or the laws are personal;

2/ by the laws of the territory in which they are present, with the exception of those laws which provide for public order, which determine the formalities of acts, or which regard immovable goods located in the territory.

And so I stand corrected!

Chris

The question has been moved on. However, I don’t recall having written that and would be quite surprised if I had. Travellers (perigrini), unlike transients (vagi), do have proper residences (see cc. 13, 100 and 102). Thus travellers can be outside of a “home” diocese in which they have a domicile. Transients cannot, because they have no domicile.

Chris,
There’s a subtle difference. Canon 13 says that travellers are not bound by the particular law of the territory in which they find themselves at the moment. That means that if there is a law unique to that diocese which requires Catholics to do something–let’s say the bishop declares a day of fasting, just for example, the travellers aren’t bound by that law.

The canon for this thread would be 12. That says that travellers are exempt from universal law if the place where they are visiting is exempt from that law. Since a Holy Day of Obligation is a matter of universal law, but there is an exemption for the diocese where the traveller is visiting (Annapolis) the traveller is likewise exempt.

What makes this a bit confusing is that in most dioceses of the US, the obligation for Ascension Thursday has been moved to Sunday–so that gives the impression that the exemption is the “wider” law. But that’s not the case. It’s not particular law which requires Catholics in that area (ie the home diocese of the traveller, whatever diocese that might be) to attend Mass on Thursday; it’s the universal law, which just happens to be not-exempt in that unnamed diocese.

Canons 12 and 13 go together. They’re both meant “for the good of souls” to accomodate people who travel, and to release them from obligations of which they might not be aware.

It must have been someone else. In any case, I do remember someone (who I thought was you, but it obviously was not) writing something to that effect.

So - the upshot of this would be, if there is no Mass for him to go to on Ascension Thursday (keeping with our example even though that was almost a week ago, now) because they don’t celebrate Ascension Thursday there, he doesn’t have to attend Mass that day, but at the same time, if he goes there on a day of fasting that he is not aware of (like if they observe the Ember Days in that Diocese, but in his home Diocese they don’t do that, and it happens to be an Ember Day) he is not required to observe that, either.

Is that a proper interpretation, or have I missed something, still?

It was just that you were applying a law about vagi (someone without a home) to a situation about a traveller (someone away from home). It’s an easy distinction to miss if you’re not accustomed to looking for the distinction.

Vagi are bound by the laws of the place where they are actually present at the moment–where they “woke up” that morning isn’t relevant.

So - the upshot of this would be, if there is no Mass for him to go to on Ascension Thursday (keeping with our example even though that was almost a week ago, now) because they don’t celebrate Ascension Thursday there, he doesn’t have to attend Mass that day,

More-or-less. Since the universal law is exempt in the place where he’s visiting, he doesn’t have any obligation to attend Mass on Thursday–even if he does know of a place offering Mass. Note that I’m saying there’s no “obligation”, not saying that it wouldn’t be a good thing to do.

Your conclusion is right–he would not have an obligation to attend Mass.

but at the same time, if he goes there on a day of fasting that he is not aware of (like if they observe the Ember Days in that Diocese, but in his home Diocese they don’t do that, and it happens to be an Ember Day) he is not required to observe that, either.

Is that a proper interpretation, or have I missed something, still?

Again, more-or-less. As a traveller, he would be exempt from fasting in the place where he visits even though fasting is required in that place. Canon 13.2.2 This is true whether-or-not he’s aware of the fasting requirement where he visits.

He would ALSO be exempt from fasting even if his home diocese had that as a day of fasting because once he leaves his home diocese, he is no longer bound by the local law of his home diocese (that’s canon 13.2.1) because that particular/local law adds an obligation.

Again, your conclusion is right–he would be exempt from the requirement of fasting.

In anticipation of a question, even if both his home diocese and the diocese where he’s visiting are observing ember days and fasting in both diocese is required, he would still be exempt from fasting by virtue of both parts of the canon. 13.2.1 & 13.2.2
[unless not-fasting would be a cause for scandal]

Fascinating. Thank you very much! :slight_smile:

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