Continuing to not go to Mass after dispensation lifted

If the dispensation is lifted can one choose to not go because a) COVID is dangerous b) it’s going to become more so in the winter/colder season, and if dispensation is lifted then I won’t be going. The CCC says:

The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin ( CCC 2181 ,.

Would this count as a serious reason? I want to know because my Bishop hasn’t lifted it and I know some are starting to but I don’t want to go for as long as possible to avoid catching it

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I think so, provided your motivation is to avoid getting sick and not just because you don’t feel like going. You could always ask your priest if you’re concerned.


Speak to your pastor.

First, if you are sick, elderly/high risk, immo-compromised, or caring for those types of people, caring for infants, working a job, or any of the other typical situations that would excuse the obligation then you are still excused.

If your situation is more of “I’m not high risk or in any category that would typically excuse me, but I’m concerned” your pastor can dispense you. Remember it’s only the blanket dispensation that is lifted, you can still ask for and obtain an individual dispensation.

In all cases use your own best judgment. If cases are spiking, the Church is crowded, and/or people aren’t following guidelines/wearing masks, then make your decision then— I would not go in to mass under those conditions, dispensation or not.


I would think that the diocese would make an official statement on this when they lifted the dispensation. They should, at least, to avoid confusion.


Unless you are ill, one of your family members is ill, either you or they have a compromised immune system or you are the caregiver for a person who is ill you should go. We have all been to Mass when others there are ill and there has always been a fear of catching something.

"The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice."

Speak to your Priest about it.

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Most should have set an end date when the dispensation was originally given. As I understand the way this is supposed to work from a Canon Law perspective, an indefinite dispensation isn’t permitted. That’s why our bishops here have had to extend the dispensation beyond the original expiration date.

That said, whether they did or didn’t set a date, there needs to be some “publicity” around the end of the dispensation if anyone is expected to abide by it and return to Mass.

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Hmm, I didn’t know that. I’m not aware of my diocese having set an official end date. I got the impression that it would be indefinite, and I still have that impression.

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I don’t recall where I saw that; it may have been one of our esteemed clergy here on this site, but the idea was that a dispensation by nature being an exception to the law had to at minimum be specified for a certain term or circumstance, so perhaps your bishops have said “until the pandemic is over” or something similar. Nonetheless, you would need to know when they believe that is.

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Can you cite the sections of Canon Law where you’re getting this from?

I should think in situations of pandemic, war, other disaster requiring dispensation, it would be difficult if not impossible for a bishop to set an end date for dispensation, unless he set it way far in the future with the intention of its probably being lifted before the end date arrives.

All of the statements I read, had language along the lines of “during this time of pandemic”, which should meet your request for ‘timeframe’.

That’s gonna be the next great item of confusion. There has always been the notion that one may be excused or dispensed; when the current dispensations are removed, many will think that there are no exceptions. :frowning:

Or just set it for six months with the intention of renewing it for another six if the situation hadn’t improved.

I have muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease that makes me vulnerable to pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. If I get the disease, I will surely die. I am not going to Mass unless the risk of getting covid is significantly low. I’m dying to go to Mass though because I love Mass. I wish I can go…

Very good call. My parents are in their late 70s and they don’t and I don’t want them back in Mass (in person) until a vaccine comes out

I am dying to go and receive confession but unfortunately I can’t go anywhere without support. I hope to go sometime after covid is over. Until then, I would have to wait. I’m jealous for everyone who can go to Mass in Korea.

The bishop of my diocese has extended the blanket dispensation three times so far. Finally, he just extended it “indefinitely.” At least that’s how it is reported on the diocese website. That said, there may be an official document that is more specific.

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This is a pastor-only question. No one else is in a position to know details, or has the authority to dispense.

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This sounds easy in theory, but I know from dealing with contract extensions that it’s an administrative headache and it’s much easier to just have some overly long time frame and only do one order to terminate instead of 3 or 4 extensions.

True, but it’s not like the bishop has to negotiate with anyone. He can just do it. I would think there’s also the “maintaining calm” piece to consider. If the bishop says “dispensation for a year” people may panic. Maybe better to say 3 months or something, then if more time is needed just extend it.

Although come to think of it I think in my diocese it’s just “till further notice.”

A dispensation shouldn’t freak anyone out. One is still free to go to Mass.


You’re right, for some reason I was thinking of the suspension of public Mass.

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