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July 24, 2006


Needing to take the kind of class that you describe is certainly a just cause, and if the pastor is half-way reasonable, he should recognize this.

Even if he didn't, though, the reason itself is sufficient to allow your boyfriend to attend the class and miss Mass this once.

Sorry, morning cobwebs in my head. Does this above mean that asking the pastor for dispensation is merely a formality that isn't necessary to missing Mass when you know you have just cause?


What Jimmy's saying, I think, is that "a moderately serious reason" and "a just cause" are not necessarily legally the same things. Probably there's a lot of overlap, though.

I would be fascinated to know how these things are defined, though. I mean, I'm pretty sure I know what "a moderately serious reason" is, but "a just cause" has me baffled.

What's the definition of "feast day"?

Right, Maureen. But when you might have just cause and not a moderately serious reason, do you have to ask a pastor, according to canon 1245, or is it just a formality? That would amount to a lot of pestering the priests.


Nothing personal, but perhaps only Pharisees look for loopholes.

Christ had any number of very good reasons to bypass the Sacrifice, as He was so slyly reminded in the desert once for 40 days. Hell's bells, He could've healed people in all the lands, etc., etc..... but He didn't bypass it nor even delay it. He opted for the Father's will and schedule over His own.

The world has busied up every Sunday, if not every weekend, so that the Lord doesn't even get a whole Sabbath, even if we make it to SOME Mass or other.

Who's King of our lives? THAT is the question.



Maybe only Pharisees look for loopholes, but why be quick to judge?

Serious Catholics make an effort to know exactly what is expected of them so they can do it. That's being a serious Catholic, not Pharasaical.


Just cause is that: Just cause.

Say you work an extraordinarily long shift on a Saturday--maybe you're in the military and you just have to work the hours they demand. 20 hours or more, running into Saturday night and into the very wee hours of Sunday morning. You're dog tired so much that you have just cause to go home and sleep. You're not seriously ill or even moderately seriously ill, you just need sleep or else things can happen, and you probably shouldn't lose any sleep to get back up and drive to Mass. That's at least just cause. I gather that vacationing in China would be another just cause, if not moderately serious reason, since Jimmy says it's dangerous to attend Mass and that we're not required.

A serious Catholic won't like either of these situations, and would have otherwise wanted to go to Mass, and needs to know if he or she has to go to a priest for dispensation in cases like these. (What's wrong with needing to know?)

David B.

Need I remind several people that Jimmy invoked rule #20?


Need I remind several people that Jimmy invoked rule #20?

Several people? Asking for further clarification is not negating Jimmy's advice at all. I accept it but would like some clarification so as to understand better.

David B.


From DA Rulz: "For the peace of mind of the person who asked the question, challenges to such answers need to be handled a different way. Instead of using the comments box to pose your challenge, e-mail Jimmy."


David B., Those aren't challenges to his answer. Unless Rule 20 needs re-written, I haven't broken it and don't intend to do anything close to breaking it. People can and do ask for clarifications all the time on this blog all the while not challenging advice, and Jimmy's trying to help more than one person or else he wouldn't post his answers on a public blog.

To challenge advice, you'd have to bring up an opposing view, requiring a person to defend what they said. Look up the definition of "challenge". Rule 20 is for people who want to contend with Jimmy's advice, not ask for clarification for their own educational benefit.


What I would like clarification on is this:

Even if [the priest didn't recognize just cause], though, the reason itself is sufficient to allow your boyfriend to attend the class and miss Mass this once.

That's why it's not clear to me whether asking the priest is a formality and whether his decision is not necessarily binding. And, it's not clear what "just cause" scenarios require you to call on a priest for dispensation. It looks from what Jimmy wrote, that even if you ask a priest and he says "no", you can still have just cause and miss Mass despite what the priest says. Clarification would be much appreciated because I am confused.

David B.

I conceed.

Jimmy Akin

If one has a moderately serious reason then one does not need to ask the priest's permission.

If one lacks a moderately serious reason but does have a just cause (basically any reason that is not prohibited by law) then one needs to obtain the pastor's permission. It is not a formality in that case. It is something you have to do.

David B.


I type too quickly.


Much appreciated, Jimmy! Thanks!


David B., No harm done. It's good to take Rule 20 seriously. I apologize if my writing is bad enough that my intention was mistaken.

David B.

Nah, it's just that I'm D-U-M ;-)

A Simple Sinner

We have looked everywhere for a Mass early or late enough for him to attend, but it seems to be impossible.

WE are having problems fininding a Mass to attend on Sunday in ROME? Topeka, Tehran or Tekrete, I could understand... in Rome?


Yeah, right. There are afternoon & evening masses at St. Peter's on the weekdays. When I'm in Rome I hit them up all the time. Not in English, necessarily, but so what? And what about vigil masses? Ever heard of Saturday vigil? I mean, come on.

Re-read the first sentence: He's going to be in the States then, not in Rome.


Whoops! That was me. (Having a Monday).

Dr. Eric

I know the person in question is going to be in the US for his class, but just to clarify:

According to the chart I saw in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, there is Holy Mass daily in Rome every half hour from 4:30 in the morning to 8:00 at night, if anyone is in Rome I'd say it's impossible to miss Mass because of time constraints. Not that anyone here would want to miss Holy Mass on purpose.

can I ask, and if possible please back up the answer with official quotes, is it a sin to intentionally go to Holy Mass on Saturday so that you don't have to go on Sunday despite there being no reason why you cannot go on Sunday?

Rotten Orange

Dear [Blank]

Please take a look at this earlier post from Jimmy dealing with the subject. From what I know, you may go on a Saturday evening (anytime after noon, apparently) and fulfill Sunday obligation without any reason requirement. If you need more explanation, type "Sunday Obligation" in the search bar above.

Hope it helps somehow.

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