I’ve heard from a friend that dioceses in the province of Los Angeles (that’s basically southern and central California) have now dispensed with January 1, Feast of Mary, the Mother of God, as a holy day of obligation.
- Because of the pastoral reality and the pastoral hardships resulting from this obligation on January 1, all the Bishops of the Province of Los Angeles have voted to dispense from the obligation of attending Mass on January 1, 2003 [and all future years.]
I guess the pastoral reality is that everyone is too hungover to want to worry about getting up for Mass on New Years Day. At the rate they’re dispensing with holy days, the only ones we’ll have left are Earth Day and World AIDS Day. Oh wait, those aren’t holy days of obligation… yet.
This reminds me of a story told by Oliver North. In the middle of the Iran Contra scandal, he had reporters camped on his doorstep every single morning, rain or shine—Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, you name it—except for one. That’s right, New Year’s Day. The ink-stained wretches were willing to give up Christmas morning with the kids, but they couldn’t be bothered not to get drunk on New Year’s Eve.