Permission to celebrate 3 Masses

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  I just noticed that it might require the Pope’s permission for me to celebrate 3 Masses on ordinary weekdays: is that still a hard-and-fast rule? In the past year I began celebrating 3 Masses some Wednesdays, one in each of three different locations. If this is not allowed, one group will be deprived of this special occasion of a Mass. Can this permission be presumed as a special case (certainly not being against the reason for the law); or should we request permission of the Pope; or should I stop saying one of the Masses?


A:  You are referring to Canon 905 §2, which is beyond my expertise. I consulted a canonist, who gives this reply:

Canon 905, §2 does authorize two masses on weekdays, 3 on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation…and only these. The canonical principle is, then, that the Ordinary may not give a broader faculty than is permitted in this canon without the permission of the Holy See (cf., Communicationes 15 [1983] 192 at Canon 858, §2).

However, in an INDIVIDUAL case and for a sufficient reason, a diocesan bishop could dispense from this canon in virtue of Canon 87, §1. What the Bishop (or his delegate) cannot do is to give GENERAL permission for more than 2 Masses on weekdays and 3 on Sundays. A case-by-case situation, yes. If your bishop has delegated one or more vicars general to grant this permission in light of canon 87, you may contact one of them.