Criteria for valid pastoral dispensation


#1

I will be moving with my family out of state, from one side of the country to the other, and we will be driving to our destination, which, depending on the number of hours we drive, speed, traffic, and other variables, will take us about 3.5 days or so.

We're leaving on Thursday, and so our on-the-road traveling will overlap with the weekend. I have every intention of getting to Mass; what I can't guarantee is that my dad (fallen away Catholic) will accomodate it, as he, though having started attending Mass again a few months ago has not been observing his Mass obligation the last few weeks. We are moving in his truck, he and I will alternate driving, and we will have a GPS with us. I know he doesn't want any hold-ups apart from stopping for gas, eating, and sleeping. I haven't asked him yet if we can go to Mass on Saturday or Sunday at the Catholic Church that happens to be the nearest to us. I've decided to ask him once I'm driving ...

Some at my parish were trying to reassure me that I needn't worry because I will already be dispensed due to traveling, but I was doubtful, and so "googled" it and found two conflicting EWTN Q & A s:

Q: Is there such a thing as a travel dispensation? I was told if you could not make it to Mass due to traveling it was ok. A couple years ago I missed Mass one weekend due to travel and I went to confession, the priest absolved me of the sin and never mentioned a travel dispensation. Please clarify.

A: Yes, necessary travel is a legitimate absence from attending the Eucharist on holydays of obligation. Fr. Bob Levis (source)

vs

Q: My parents swear that the Church teaches if one is traveling on Sunday or is on vacation that they do not have to attend mass. I ask this because we traveled on a Sunday for 7 hours and were unable to attend mass that Sunday morning due to snow, but were able to attend an evening service when we arrived home. I went but they did not citing a travel dispensation. Is there such a thing and what conditions need to be met for it to apply.

A: There is no such thing as a travel dispensation. Mass attendance is required Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. (source)

Now to the point. I'd like to receive a pastoral dispensation from Mass, *in the event *that I am unable to make it (believe me, I want to go to Mass).

However, I need some clarifaction on the canons concerning pastoral dispensations. Namely, nos. 89-92

Can. 89 A pastor and other presbyters or deacons are not able to dispense from universal and particular law unless this power has been expressly granted to them.

Can. 90 §1. One is not to be dispensed from an ecclesiastical law without a just and reasonable cause, after taking into account the circumstances of the case and the gravity of the law from which dispensation is given; otherwise the dispensation is illicit and, unless it is given by the legislator himself or his superior, also invalid.

§2. In a case of doubt concerning the sufficiency of the cause, a dispensation is granted validly and licitly.

Can. 91 Even when outside his territory, one who possesses the power to dispense is able to exercise it with respect to his subjects even though they are absent from the territory, and, unless the contrary is expressly established, also with respect to travelers actually present in the territory, as well as with respect to himself.

Can. 92 A dispensation is subject to a strict interpretation according to the norm of ⇒ can. 36, §1, as is the very power to dispense granted for a particular case.

Also, given Can. 89, is it possible that associate pastors are also able to grant a dispensation from Mass?


#2

You should probably talk to your pastor about all this.


#3

If you want formal dispensation ahead of time you must discuss this with your priest. It may be most appropriate to speak to the Pastor... but I believe any of his assistant priests will do.

My understanding of the Sunday obligation is as follows:
It is a sin to miss Mass if you are able to attend. Legitamate reasons for missing mass include:
*There is no mass available (you must still attend whatever Church gathering is available - even if it is not Catholic but is other Christian)
*You are Sick, and unable to make it, or are contagious. (it would be a sin to knowingly spread germs of a contagious disease)
*You are looking after very young children and don't feel able to bring them to mass
*you are travelling. the travel is unavoidable on the Sunday, and no mass times are available when you are not travelling.

*Un-necessary travel on a Sunday could be a sin in itself: "Keep Holy the Sabath Day" is interpreted by the church as abstaining from unnessicary or servile works. - the situation you describe, however, does not sound like an avoidable or movable journey.

If you can't make Mass, you can listen to a Mass broadcast on the Radio. EWTN broadcast Mass Daily. there are a huge number of american stations that are part of the EWTN network. Daily mass times are 13:00 GMT and reprised at 17:00.
I think that's 09:00 and 13:00 EST. but check.
You can check in advance where you expect to be then and see if there's a radio station broadcasting where you expect to be.

You can also pick it up on Internet radio. I listen to EWTN radio while driving all the time, via my Android phone... but again it would depend on mobile phone signal, (you need ear-phones or a Jack plug to link to the car stereo)

Listening to the mass on the Radio does not fulfil your obligation if you are able to make it to a Church.


#4

No, that’s wrong.

If there is no Mass available there is no obligation. You do not have to attend a Catholic ‘gathering’, but it’s nice to do so if one is available, and you certainly never have to attend a non-Catholic service (Christian though it may be)


#5

What would you consider “unnecessary travel”, and why would it be a sin? As long as you make every effort to try to attend Mass.


#6

Simply approach your* Pastor * and discuss it with him.

(an associate does not per se have such authority -- but could be given it by the Bishop --which some do I believe)

The dispensation would not be a "travel" dispensation. In the US I do not believe such exists. But rather simply a dispensation from the Pastor.

Otherwise in life there can be the reality of something being "impossible" in terms of such obligations. An person who say is orbiting the Earth who realizes -hey it is Sunday-- does not have to run to the radio and radio Houston "we have a problem..can you call my Pastor". It is "impossible" given where he is to make it.....

Such could arise on a more terrestrial level as well.

As noted though -- go have a conversation with your Pastor...


#7

Side note: Great phone application: MassTimes. You can enter zip code, or location, and it will give you closest church and their Mass times, as well as link you to their bulletin, so you can check that it is current.:thumbsup:


#8

[quote="Chatter163, post:7, topic:298930"]
Side note: Great phone application: MassTimes. You can enter zip code, or location, and it will give you closest church and their Mass times, as well as link you to their bulletin, so you can check that it is current.:thumbsup:

[/quote]

and one can give them a call to check the recording....:thumbsup:


#9

jimmyakin.com/2005/01/camping_on_sund.html


#10

[quote="Bookcat, post:6, topic:298930"]

Such could arise on a more terrestrial level as well.

[/quote]

and for lesser events than being in orbit around the earth :)

(like one is in a place that day where one can not reasonably get to Mass)
(but again ...those anticipating such --it is good for them to contact their Pastor)


#11

[quote="Chatter163, post:7, topic:298930"]
Side note: Great phone application: MassTimes. You can enter zip code, or location, and it will give you closest church and their Mass times, as well as link you to their bulletin, so you can check that it is current.:thumbsup:

[/quote]

Also available on-line Mass Times.


#12

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