Sunday obligation

When is it legitimate for a catholic to attend divine liturgy at an Orthodox church (ex. No Byzantine Catholics near college, but there are EOs)?

According to your church, no. But that’s because they don’t want you to see what we are.

The Vatican has encourage people to visit Orthodox Churches for ecumenical reasons.

Although Eastern Christians do not understand obligation the same way Latin Catholics do or even necessarily have the the exact same requirement as Latins I wouldn’t think it would be proper to attend an EO divine liturgy even when a Latin Catholic church is nearby.

I think the Church rightfully dispenses Catholics from their obligation when the ability to attend a Divine Liturgy or latin mass is severely curtailed. For example when the closest Catholic church or Byzantine church is several hundred miles away or you are in a non-Catholic country. So if you were vacationing in the countryside of Russia or some country where Catholics are few and far between then I’d say attend a Divine Liturgy, but if the option is the Catholic church two blocks away or the Orthodox church next door and you are Byzantine then the obvious answer, at least for me, is walk the few blocks.


This is completely false. As was pointed out, the Vatican has encouraged Roman Catholics to explore Orthodoxy and to come to a deeper understanding of her liturgy, spirituality, theology, history, etc. Similarly the Vatican has encouraged Eastern Catholics to embrace the fullness of their Eastern/Oriental heritage, without of course breaking communion with Rome.

From what I’ve read on these forums, and from discussions I’ve had with friends, depending on how one interprets canon law, it is indeed possible for a Catholic to fulfill his Sunday “obligation” at an Orthodox parish. Of course, said Catholic would not be able to receive Holy Communion at an Orthodox parish, unless the pastor of the parish allows him to. This seems to be up to the individual priest.

The Catholic Church most certainly wants its members to know who/what the Orthodox are. John Paul II was very adamant on this fact in his “Orientale Lumen” encyclical (which was not about Roman Catholics becoming familiar with Eastern Catholics, but about all Catholics becoming familiar with Orthodoxy). Likewise Vatican II made assertions to the same in the declaration “Unitatis Redintegratio.” Please know of what you speak before you make ridiculous accusations.

If one wants to be legalistic about it, the CCEO says that we may fulfill our Sunday Obligation by attending any of the Divine Praises (Vespers, Matins, Divine Liturgy) without specifying that is must be Catholic. Contrast that with the CIC which applies to Roman Catholics that says one must attend “Mass” in any Catholic Rite (emphasis on Catholic).

It sounds like you are in a place with Latin-rite Mass, but no Byzantine Divine Liturgies. You are obliged to attend a Catholic Mass/DL if it is available.

If you want to go to an Orthodox Divine Liturgy, then you would be going as a visitor, and the visit would not fulfill your obligation, and you should not receive the Eucharist.

If however you are in a place where there are no Catholic Masses or Divine Liturgies available, then you are dispensed from your Sunday obligation. If you are traveling, you may visit an Orthodox DL but not receive the Eucharist.

If you are in this situation for a long time, the Catholic Church permits you to ask the Orthodox priest about receiving the sacraments; however, the Orthodox have a rule to say no.

Even when the only Catholic mass available destroys you’re personal spirituality and faith (novus ordo)?

There’s no such thing as a Liturgy that destroys your spirituality. Only one’s pride destroys ones spirituality.

I shall correct myself, then. The execution of the liturgy in a college youth group destroys my spirituality. Does that work?( no sarcasm)

Should we shun any Liturgy where Christ is present in the Eucharist? To do so is pride.

S prazdnikom!

Your subject line is “Sunday obligation” but you make no mention of Sunday obligation in your question.

A Catholic is free any time to attend Divine Liturgy or any service in an Orthodox Church. I was in the Festal Vigil last night for the altar feast of a local Orthodox parish, along with a number of other faithful from my parish, as well as our deacon. One of our priests planned to go but at the last minute was urgently needed elsewhere. I was also there for the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy today, receiving a blessing from the Orthodox bishop in both situations.

When there is no Catholic Church, Latin, Eastern, or Oriental, within a reasonable distance the Sunday obligation is dispensed, as it is for any other just cause, such as being too ill to attend Mass/DL. A dislike of the way the Mass is celebrated in available parishes does not dispense the obligation. The there is no obligation to receive the Holy Eucharist, but rather the obligation to assist in the Mass/DL that is to gather in community to give glory to God and receive his mercy.

Guardian of widows and orphaned ones, and feeder of the hungry, enricher of all the poor,
and deliverer of captives, the savior of seafarers, art thou, O greatly blessed and most wise Nicholas.

I wound say no, because as long as it is a valid Eucharistic liturgy, then Christ is present. If He can stand being there, then so can you, surely. And as long as you are Catholic, any valid Catholic liturgy is preferable to worshipping out of communion with Rome.

It is better to discuss with your priest any concerns you have about the way liturgy is celebrated, and take the matter up with the Bishop or even Rome if warranted, than simply refuse to worship in a Catholic rite.

Is the college youth group really the only Mass in your locale?
Many of us are familiar with poorly done liturgy. I avoid the children’s liturgy Fridays at my Latin parish due to the music. I wound up there last week, because I forgot it was Friday and don’t you know some wonderful things happened, including that at the end of Mass Father did a beautiful teaching for the children about adoration, which normally begins after they leave for their classes. I am not infrequently surprised by such gifts in a Mass that seems to be going painfully badly.

I respectfully disagree with LilyM that “as long as you are Catholic, any valid Catholic liturgy is preferable to worshipping out of communion with Rome.” but agree with her wholeheartedly about talking with the priest, and possibly the chancery about your concerns.

The deacon in my Latin Church came from Connecticut. If you PM me I’d be happy to ask him if he can suggest an orthodox Catholic parish near you. I’m sure he’s still connected with the deacon network in Connecticut… He and his wife still go back there to visit their old parish and friends.

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