Does A SCAP Service On Sunday Fulfill Holy Day Of Obligation?

I myself have never attended a SCAP service in my archdiocese although I am aware that they exist in outlying rural areas of my city, as much as fifty miles from my city. I have to ask if a SCAP service on Sunday fulfills a faithful Catholic Holy Day of Obligation on Sunday? My first answer would be NO because there is no official Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. A SCAP service can "never" be deemed the same as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It does not. According to Ecclesia de Mysterio:

Article 7

Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest
1. In some places in the absence of priests or deacons,(90) non-ordained members of the faithful lead Sunday celebrations. In many instances, much good derives for the local community from this useful and delicate service when it is discharged in accordance with the spirit and the specific norms issued by the competent ecclesiastical authority.(91) A special mandate of the Bishop is necessary for the non-ordained members of the faithful to lead such celebrations. This mandate should contain specific instructions with regard to the term of applicability, the place and conditions in which it is operative, as well as indicate the priest responsible for overseeing these celebrations.

  1. It must be clearly understood that such celebrations are temporary solutions and the text used at them must be approved by the competent ecclesiastical authority.(92) The practice of inserting into such celebrations elements proper to the Holy Mass is prohibited. So as to avoid causing error in the minds of the faithful,(93) the use of the eucharistic prayers, even in narrative form, at such celebrations is forbidden. For the same reasons, it should be emphasised for the benefit of those participating, that such celebrations cannot substitute for the eucharistic Sacrifice and that the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy days is satisfied only by attendance at Holy Mass.(94) In cases where distance or physical conditions are not an obstacle, every effort should be made to encourage and assist the faithful to fulfil this precept.

Although this document was promulgated in 1997, it has not been abrogated.

benedictgal;

It does not. According to Ecclesia de Mysterio:

Quote:
Article 7

Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest
1. In some places in the absence of priests or deacons,(90) non-ordained members of the faithful lead Sunday celebrations. In many instances, much good derives for the local community from this useful and delicate service when it is discharged in accordance with the spirit and the specific norms issued by the competent ecclesiastical authority.(91) A special mandate of the Bishop is necessary for the non-ordained members of the faithful to lead such celebrations. This mandate should contain specific instructions with regard to the term of applicability, the place and conditions in which it is operative, as well as indicate the priest responsible for overseeing these celebrations.

  1. It must be clearly understood that such celebrations are temporary solutions and the text used at them must be approved by the competent ecclesiastical authority.(92) The practice of inserting into such celebrations elements proper to the Holy Mass is prohibited. So as to avoid causing error in the minds of the faithful,(93) the use of the eucharistic prayers, even in narrative form, at such celebrations is forbidden. For the same reasons, it should be emphasised for the benefit of those participating, that such celebrations cannot substitute for the eucharistic Sacrifice and that the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy days is satisfied only by attendance at Holy Mass.(94) In cases where distance or physical conditions are not an obstacle, every effort should be made to encourage and assist the faithful to fulfil this precept. Although this document was promulgated in 1997, it has not been abrogated.

Thank you for answering this. I needed to clarify this in a argument I heard recently.

If there is no possiblity of attending Mass, there is no obligation.

OTOH, if that's all that's available that you can attend, you should take advantage of what's offered.

[quote="bpbasilphx, post:4, topic:187015"]
If there is no possiblity of attending Mass, there is no obligation.

OTOH, if that's all that's available that you can attend, you should take advantage of what's offered.

[/quote]

** if that's all that's available that you can attend, you should take advantage of what's offered**

My greatest fear in what you say here due to an decreasing number of men entering seminaries and many existing priest facing retirement is that SCAP services in the future would become a norm. Perhaps most Catholics in today's generation might declare without reservation that this will never happen and that with assurance there will always be a Holy Sacrifice of the Mass taking place even if some Catholics have to travel 20 to 30 miles to attend Mass. In my archdiocese, this very plausible scenario has been spoken about by our archbishop even though most parishioners in our archdiocese shrug it off. In my small city of 120,000, 40% are comprised of French and English speaking Catholics. In 1980 there were 70 priests in our archdiocese. Today, less than 25.

[quote="centurionguard, post:5, topic:187015"]
** if that's all that's available that you can attend, you should take advantage of what's offered**

My greatest fear in what you say here due to an decreasing number of men entering seminaries and many existing priest facing retirement is that SCAP services in the future would become a norm. In 1980 there were 70 priests in our archdiocese. Today, less than 25.

[/quote]

The fruits of Vatican II.

[quote="centurionguard, post:5, topic:187015"]
** if that's all that's available that you can attend, you should take advantage of what's offered**

My greatest fear in what you say here due to an decreasing number of men entering seminaries and many existing priest facing retirement is that SCAP services in the future would become a norm. Perhaps most Catholics in today's generation might declare without reservation that this will never happen and that with assurance there will always be a Holy Sacrifice of the Mass taking place even if some Catholics have to travel 20 to 30 miles to attend Mass. In my archdiocese, this very plausible scenario has been spoken about by our archbishop even though most parishioners in our archdiocese shrug it off. In my small city of 120,000, 40% are comprised of French and English speaking Catholics. In 1980 there were 70 priests in our archdiocese. Today, less than 25.

[/quote]

20 & 30 miles isn't that bad, some priests have to travel farther than that to celebrate in 2 or 3 separate communities each week.

And even in a city like Moncton, where 20 years ago you would have found at least 2 Sunday Masses in each parish, this summer when passing through there was only one. I was travelling and needed to leave so as I travelled to Saint John I left the highway every time there was a small community until I found a Mass in Sussex. The priest there had already celebrated Mass in another community earlier.

As for your question, in the 70s the Conference of Western Bishops put out a ritual for Liturgies of the Word when a priest wasn't available. I'm sure many people are familiar with that one because, in its introduction, one of the statements made was that it was more important to meet as a community to celebrate on Sunday, even if it were just a SCAP, than to attend Mass in a nearby parish. That of course is completely wrong but if Bishops promoted it why would people doubt it. Luckily the new "Sunday Celebrations of the Word and Hours" makes it clear that, if Mass is available you attend Mass if it's not too far away.

That message hasn't reached everyone though: when I lived in the Halifax area in the mid 90s, our Francophone Community would sometimes be without a priest. They always opted for a Liturgy of the Word with Communion in French rather than attend Mass in English. That always bothered me since 90% of us had to drive by at least one if not 3 or 4 English churches on our way to the auditorium for the French Mass so when I was scheduled for ministry during that liturgy I always made sure I went to Mass elsewhere on Saturday evening.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.