Good Friday & Holy Days of Obligation

“Good Friday isn’t even a holy day of obligation. That’s how much importance the Catholic Church places on the day”

  • So says a letter writer to a newspaper today. Now, I know it isn’t a holy day of obligation, but I’m just wondering if the reason for this is purely because of the definition of “holy day of obligation” as given in Canon Law:

Can. 1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.

Given that there is no Holy Mass celebrated on Good Friday, there could not be applied to it an obligation to go to Mass… but is there any other obligation for persons to attend some commemoration of the Lord’s Passion, or is this just a strong recommendation? Or is the only obligation fast and abstinence?

one would hope every Catholic comes to Mass on obligatory days out of love, not obligation, but humans being what they are, some reminder in the form of law is required. Obviously since there is no Mass it is not a day of obligation, and it is never obligatory outside the universal mandate to pray daily, to attend other liturgical rites except for those bound by canon law (LOTH for priests for instance). Does the author of that statement somehow imagine that the Church considers importance only that which form the matter of binding law? what an impoverished notion that is.

“Impoverished” would indeed be the right word to describe notions about the Catholic Church which abound in the Irish media at the present time…Even papers which would have been regarded as fair and balanced have become hotbeds of anti-Catholic rhetoric. I don’t know how many times I’ve written letters to certain papers over the past number of months to correct misinformation and anti-Catholic remarks by letter-writers, and not one has been printed! The papers would have us think that everyone is against the Church, but that is not the case - certain editors simply won’t print anything written in defence of the Church, nor anything written to set the record straight.

Good Friday is not a “Holy Day of Obligation” but it is certainly a “Holy Day”. Indeed the entire week of the passion between Palm Sunday and Easter is a “Holy” time in the Church and is even called “Holy Week”.

People who write such dribble only demonstrate their own ignorance and the need for better catechesis in TheChurch.


The Church has always recomended that the faithful treat the whole Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday) as they would a Holy Day. By Praying, Fasting, Reflecting, attending Devotions, Mass of the Last Supper, avoiding unecessary work, etc.)

The “Obligation” is something that the Church can attach or not to certain days. She has attached the obligation of Fast and Abstainance to Good Friday.

The entire purpose of Lent is to prepare us for Holy Week, specifically, the Paschal Triduum. If we engage in a Lenten regimen and then neglect to assist at the Holy Week services, then, we have completely lost the point. The Paschal Triduum is the high point of the liturgical year and the Church’s holiest time. Obviously, the letter-writer mentioned by the OP has no clue regarding this.

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