WHERE might Mass be celebrated?

WHERE might Mass be celebrated?

I noticed in the Catholic Encyclopedia at newadvent.org that the description for the Sacrifice of the Mass (newadvent.org/cathen/10006a.htm) references Sess. XXII of the Council of Trent. The Encyclopedia and Trent both seem to indicate that “the Mass may be celebrated only in Chapels and public (or semi-public) oratories, which must be consecrated or at least blessed.” (See paragraph 1(a) under section C in the newadvent.org description for the Sacrifice of the Mass.)

That being said, can someone offer some clarification as to the following specific questions:

  1. May a priest celebrate Mass in a private residence? If not, why not? If so, why is this allowed?

  2. At a local Catholic school where I live, Mass is celebrated every week in the school’s gym because it is the only space large enough for the entire student body. There is an altar rock which is used, but I am not certain if the building itself is consecrated or blessed. Students do play sports in the gym daily. How is this possible?

Thank you for any thoughts or comments. I would also appreciate and available sources/citations you may be able to provide.

Canon Law says a bit on the subject:

THE TIME AND PLACE OF THE CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST
Can. 931 The celebration and distribution of the Eucharist can be done at any day and hour except those which the liturgical norms exclude.

Can. 932 §1. The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a decent place.

§2. The eucharistic sacrifice must be carried out on a dedicated or blessed altar; outside a sacred place a suitable table can be used, always with a cloth and a corporal.

Can. 933 For a just cause and with the express permission of the local ordinary, a priest is permitted to celebrate the Eucharist in the place of worship of some Church or ecclesial community which does not have full communion with the Catholic Church so long as there is no scandal.

Interesting. Thanks for showing me the canon law reference. The canon law seems to echo Trent on the matter, as they both allow exceptions when “necessity requires.”

Could someone help me better understand or interpret what is meant by “necessity?” If someone can give about 5-10 examples, particularluy giving reasons why a local priest would find it o.k. to celebrate the Mass in a layperson’s private residence, it would be very helpful.

Also, could someone please tell me a definition of “a sacred place.” This also seems very ambiguous.

Also, I have heard of priests celebreating Mass in places such as atop mountains, or John Paul II, before he was elected Pope, doing so over water. It seems they were doing it not out of necessity, but simply because it was novel. Is there an explanation for this?

Thank you.

What on earth does this mean? JPII was a great pope and God willing a saint, but he didn’t have the ability to walk on water. Do you mean on a boat? And how did he do this before he was confirmed? Or do you mean elected Pope?

Elected Pope. Sorry for the confusion. :stuck_out_tongue: (I edited the post to correct it.)

And yes, he was over water, in a boat. I recall hearing about his “boat Mass” when I was in Catholic school, and a nun reminded me of the event a few days ago.

Mass is regularly offered on board ships, cruise ships, military ships, etc.

Do you have a source or reference for this. The Catholic Encyclopedia says a papal indult is required in these situations.

On reasonable grounds the bishop may, in virtue of the so-called “quinquennial faculties”, allow the celebration of Mass in the open air, but the celebration of Mass at sea is allowed only by papal indult. In such an indult it is usually provided that the sea be calm during the celebration, and that a second priest (or deacon) be at hand to prevent the spilling of the chalice in case of the rocking of the ship.

(I do not know very much about indults, especially since I have never asked for one, but I cannot imagine indults are given very frequently. I would be interested to exactly know how frequently indults are given in these situations.)

Nevertheless, I did not mean to digress the thread away from the main topic. ** Again, if anyone could help me answer my other two questions concerning the canon law rule:**

  1. Could someone help me better understand or interpret what is meant by “necessity?” If someone can give about 5-10 examples, particularluy giving reasons why a local priest would find it o.k. to celebrate the Mass in a layperson’s private residence, it would be very helpful.

  2. Also, could someone please tell me a definition of “a sacred place.” This also seems very ambiguous.

As well as my original specific questions:

  1. May a priest celebrate Mass in a private residence? If not, why not? If so, why is this allowed?

  2. At a local Catholic school where I live, Mass is celebrated every week in the school’s gym because it is the only space large enough for the entire student body. There is an altar rock which is used, but I am not certain if the building itself is consecrated or blessed. Students do play sports in the gym daily. How is this possible?

Thank you! A.M.D.G.

As I understand it, Poland was occupied at the time by the Communists, and the practice of any kind of religion was forbidden. As a Catholic priest, Karol Wojtyla said Mass any place where he could be reasonably certain of not being interrupted by the authorities - often in the mountains, and on boats, etc.

They also had outdoor Masses at World Youth Day in Toronto when he was there.

Thank you for the clarification on Karol Wojtyla / Pope John Paul II.

I can understand why this would be acceptable since World Youth Day was declared by the Pope’s Vatican office.

Actually, we live on indults! Communion in the hand is by indult, standing for communioin is by indult, etc. An indult is simply an exception granted to the norm. Beyond that, no, I have no source, but I’ve been told, when I asked, that masses are generally offered on cruises. I’ve seen pictures of masses on military ships (old ones), but cannot provide a source for them.

This is also interesting. Is there a list of all current, standing indults?

No idea.

Private “Home” Masses are not allowed. Mass celebrated in a Catholic school gym when no other space can hold the necessary number of people would be allowed. Mass like JPII celebrated in the outdoors while on a camping trip is allowed as would be a Mass on a battle field as was celebrated many times during WWII. We here celebrated Midnight Mass at a local Methodist Church a few times because of the number of people who wanted to attend.

Necessity would be like in WWII when they had to use a jeep:

http://www.efour4ever.com/44thdivision/images/v3_prayer.jpg%between%

Thank you, Br. Rich and Genesis. Your responses were very informative. I really think that picture is neat! I hope to keep doing some further research to get some more thorough or specific sources for these rules.

Thanks again and God bless.

For questions about where Mass might be celebrated with respect to the military, perhaps someone should check with the Archdiocese for the Armed Forces (in the US). I’m sure there would be guidelines for Mass within the military set forth by their office.

How to interpret the text of canon law is the sort of question canon lawyers are best equipped to answer. Luckily, rather than employing their services, you can read some of their writing on this subject.

“The New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law” is no longer so new, and appears to be out of print by the Canon Law Society of America, but it is likely that your diocese has a small library which includes this volume. It goes through the entirety of canon law and devotes several paragraphs of explanation to each canon. If the diocese is a long way away, but you have a Catholic university nearby, check with their library.

Note in the picture that there are no kneelers, but they are still kneeling!

I’d don’t think anyone’s got a lot of time to find 10 examples for you Tridentinecanon, but the local Ordinary is the competent authority, I would imagine, and they’ll give out loads of indults for various needs.

Thank you. I actually wasn’t expecting anyone to “find” examples, but perhaps just some thoguhts or experiences they may have had - and just 5 examples would have been fine. :wink: I will continue researching this, and I apprecaite all of your help. Thank you! Peace!

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