Masses being cancelled

So all Catholic masses (that aren’t private) are cancelled because of the coronavirus in Singapore.

The Bishop added that Catholics should still follow the Mass through broadcast or follow the liturgy in some way, but just wanted to ask if that’s considered our Sunday Obligation? Many Catholics here that I know of are confused.


The masses are canceled therefore the bishop has dispensed the obligation.

Watching on TV is an act of piety but it is neither required nor does it fulfill the obligation.

But you don’t have an obligation if the Bishop has cancelled all the masses.


The only way to be sure of what your bishop intended to do is to ask a knowledgeable, local priest or a knowledgeable person at the bishop’s office. It is theoretically possible for the obligation to attend Mass to be “commuted” to something else. (My completely irrelevant and impotent opinion is that he did not do this, as indicated by the use of the words “should” and “can” instead of “must.”)

It is true that our obligation to “observe” Sundays and other days of obligation goes beyond attending Mass. I think that is something he is making sure people realize. The particular things he mentions, though, appear (again, in my irrelevant and impotent opinion) to be suggestions and not specific obligations he is enjoining on his particular Church.



See CIC 1247 (abstain from certain things) and particularly 1248 §2 (recommended liturgy or prayer).

Latin Canon Law (CIC)

Can. 1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.
Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.
§2. If participation in the eucharistic celebration becomes impossible because of the absence of a sacred minister or for another grave cause, it is strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the word if such a liturgy is celebrated in a parish church or other sacred place according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop or that they devote themselves to prayer for a suitable time alone, as a family, or, as the occasion permits, in groups of families.

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That’s exactly my understanding too, yet somehow according to my family, I’m trying to get out of kneeling at our TV!

I’m trying to find out as well, whether while watching the LIVE stream of the mass, are we supposed to follow( as in do the things we usually do during mass like kneeling and responding when/where we should) or just sit and watch? o.o does this sound strange? Cos there’ll be the part where the priest lifts up Christ to the audience, that’s when we kneel right? so I wanna know how to participate correctly if we should that is although it’s in front of a PC… o.o

I’m sure the Bishop is thinking of everyone’s health. While watching a broadcast can be education and edifying it’s not the same as going to Confession and receiving the Blessed Sacrament.

No, you do not kneel and stand, etc. even when live streamed you are not “at” mass.

You do not need to do so when watching the mass, live or recorded.

Were all Masses cancelled during the Black Death? or any previous epidemic? This seems an over reaction. Why not just tell the faithful that they are dispensed from the Sunday obligation if they are sick, or have just returned from China, or are fearful of catching disease because of frailty or depressed immune system etc.? Don’t cancel Masses.

And how can you make a Catholic wedding or funeral an invitation only private event?
Surely anyone is welcome to attend any Catholic liturgy held in a parish church, provided he behaves respectfully?

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Since I would very likely succumb to the latest iteration of the Corona Virus, I looked it up on the Center for Disease Control website. I find the information almost as much reassuring as alarming - bu then again I have worn mask and gloves and restricted my outside exposure for 4 1/2 years due to a stem cell transplant.

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Epidemics in the European Middle Ages, and even later, were different in that people had no clear idea of how contamination occurred. Now we know better, and we are responsible to act accordingly, in particular to protect the weakest and most vulnerable in a globalized world.


Hi 1ke,

Thanks for replying to this. The archdiocese has explicitly stated that the Mass on TV does not fulfill the obligation. On another hand, there was no public dispensation for the obligation as far as I know.

Probably so people don’t get the wrong idea in general— that watching fulfills their obligation.

The masses were canceled, therefore by virtue of no masses being available there is no obligation.

So perhaps the Bishop did not feel the need to dispense.


Thanks 1ke.

But then that raises another question since Can. 1248 also mentions that we can still fulfill our obligation by being present in a Catholic rite, I am wondering whether this can allow us to attend an SSPX? The situation here in SG is that churches have to show in public that they are doing a form of action to avoid the spread of virus but they also never forbade us to use other means (like going to other Catholic rites or going to SSPX or going to neighboring country to attend Mass which is very easy for us to do)

Please stop.

Listen to your Bishop.

Don’t be scrupulous.

Stay home.


Thank you 1ke.

Btw, pls dont misunderstand. The reason I joined this forum is to have a deeper understand of to what extent the personal resposibility in living the Faith depends on me and in no way do I recommend to others what I am willing to do myself.

So when I ask, it is not out of being scrupulous, but to understand my responsbility as Catholic and to what extent. As a person who has been healed by receiving the Eucharist before, I am simply looking to exhaust in a responsible manner what are the options available to me out of love for God.

I am also fully aware of the minimum requirements of Holy Communion reception (which is once a year). Also should I be sick, then as part of my responsibility, definitely I will stay at home and do my part.

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Well, we have quite a few cases here where locals contracted it pretty easily despite being of sound health. Additionally, many cases were linked to a protestant church service. It was only then when Masses were cancelled. As we have many elderly people attending Mass, and that it can apparently spread before symptoms showed up, I understand why it was cancelled. My lectures at University as well as tests were cancelled too.

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there is Spiritual Communion. usually said while those are receiving.


Well if it was going to be a funeral they can decide to just keep the body of ice/refrigerated until they are celebrating Masses again! They probably would ask the couple to postpone a wedding and if for some reason they couldn’t to have a private wedding (priest/deaconn, couple, and witnesses only.)

Private masses basically refer to masses for certain events like funerals/weddings. It doesn’t refer to a small little group of people. Normal weddings and funerals take place. I don’t recall anyone showing up to someone’s funeral or wedding just because there’s a mass going on anyways. It seems rude.

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