Holy Days of Obligation – Updated

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Do other Christian Churches/communities have Holy Days of Obligation?

Do you envisage a time when going to mass for Catholics might not be obligatory, in the hope of promoting a more adult approach to being members of one’s community; in other words participating because of love, not obligation?



A: I think we’re pretty unique in the holiday of obligation category. The obligation to participate at Mass comes from canon law, not from liturgical law, so I’m not sure what the future thinking may be.

For sure, we hope everyone comes out of a sense of love, even when there’s an obligation.


Q: Regarding Holy Days of Obligation, with respect to Sundays at least, the Catholic Church is not unique. Title II. Canon. 1 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church states that, “All persons within this Church shall celebrate and keep the Lord’s Day, commonly called Sunday, by regular participation in the public worship of the Church, by hearing the Word of God read and taught, and by other acts of devotion and works of charity, using all godly and sober conversation.”

By the way, far from implying a lack of love, love itself is a duty, the very summary of the law.  Covenanted love always imposes obligations. The obligations imposed by the marriage covenant, for example, are essential — and in thoroughly practical ways — to the
unconditioned love of marriage.

Just a thought.


A: A beautiful thought. Thank you for sharing.