November 1, 2014

Holy Days of Obligation in the USA

From the USCCB Website, the Holy days of Obligation here in the USA are, per Canon Law:

Canon 1246, §2 - Holy Days Of Obligation
On December 13, 1991 the members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States of America made the following general decree concerning holy days of obligation for Latin Rite Catholics:

In addition to Sunday, the days to be observed as holy days of obligation in the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America, in conformity with canon 1246, are as follows:

January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the Ascension
August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 1, the solemnity of All Saints
December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ


There is, however, this disclaimer:

"Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated." (My Emphasis)


This by extension - to me, anyway -  also denotes that since (1) December 8th and December 25th are Solemnities, the same as the other Holy Days listed above; and as (2) excepting for Ascension Thursday, the others can also fall on a Saturday or a Monday, would it not also follow that for the Solemnities of December 8th and December 25th, that required attendance at Mass for those days also be abrogated? 

I do not understand the reason - doctrinal,pastoral or otherwise - for this seeming abnormality in Holy Day requirements. Or has "gradualism in the degrees", as it pertains to solemnities, already been in effect since 1993 and what was proposed at the Synod not really all that radical?

My question is not mere rhetoric...I truly do not understand the reasoning of the Saturday-Monday-abrogation and would appreciate any enlightenment.


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