Is there a dispensation from the Sunday obligation while traveling?


#1

Okay, I’m hoping someone can clear this up. My family and I went on vacation last week. While we had every intention of going to Mass and looked into our options, there was no easy way to get there. We could have taken a long tax ride but weren’t sure how we would get back to our hotel. I’ve heard of the the traveler’s dispensation… Does it apply in this case?

Someone in my family went to confession and told the priest, who read her the riot act. I also went to confession and the priest didn’t make a big deal out of it at all. Can you please shed some light on this?


#2

[quote=zimmy]Okay, I’m hoping someone can clear this up. My family and I went on vacation last week. While we had every intention of going to Mass and looked into our options, there was no easy way to get there. We could have taken a long tax ride but weren’t sure how we would get back to our hotel. I’ve heard of the the traveler’s dispensation… Does it apply in this case?
[/quote]

Yes. When a person is traveling and, for just reason, is unable to attend Mass, he is dispensed from the Sunday obligation and does not commit sin by not going to Mass. Just reason can include unfamiliarity with one’s location and a fear of becoming lost.

[quote=zimmy]Someone in my family went to confession and told the priest, who read her the riot act. I also went to confession and the priest didn’t make a big deal out of it at all. Can you please shed some light on this?
[/quote]

The first priest certainly shouldn’t have “read [your relative] the riot act,” as she did not do anything wrong. One may hope that he was an elderly priest who was formed in an era when the popular understanding of the Sunday obligation was that nothing short of death was a good reason to miss Mass. (Not that this was the Church’s teaching in such an era; only that it was the common understanding of a vast number of Catholics.) Even the priest to whom you confessed should have assured you that you did not commit sin by innocently missing Mass while traveling.


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