Large donations for Masses

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: You have had a couple of recent questions (Masses celebrated in memory and Masses celebrated in memory – Updated) about reducing the obligations for celebrating Masses when large sums of money are left for this purpose (to individual priests or to parishes) in people’s wills. Obviously one cannot go back and ask them to change the provisions of their donation!

Perhaps you and many of your readers will be happy to know that on February 15, 2022, Pope Francis modified c. 1308 of the Code of Canon Law to allow the diocesan bishop to reduce the number of Masses that otherwise would be required “for a just and necessary cause.” Prior to this, only the Apostolic See could grant such permission. 

If the inconvenience imposed by a large bequest to any particular priest or parish is truly grave, I suspect the diocesan bishop would be quite willing to temper the obligation.

Thank you so much for your wonderful work. And congratulations on your recent appointment to the DDW&DS!


A: Thank you very much. And thanks for your kind words about my recent appointment. It boils down to a little more email every year, but quite an honor to check the Vatican news one morning and find out the pope himself asked me to do something.