Not understanding the Sunday obligation

Not understanding the Sunday obligation

This is what decades of poor Catholic religious education will get you. The protesters at St. Jeremiah church in Framingham, Mass., are holding Communion services and claiming that they fulfill the Sunday obligation, even though their bishop says it does not.

  A speaker at the event—who did not want to be named—told parishioners the Communion service fulfilled the obligation for a Sunday Mass. He said baptized Catholics have the right to express their faith. “Everyone who has been baptized is a priest,” he said. “The priesthood of the laiety is real.”

Uh no, we’re not all priests. Yes, we share the baptismal priesthood in Jesus Christ, who is Prophet, Priest, and King, but we do not share in the ministerial priesthood of the ordained. If what he said was true, then we wouldn’t need to even go to church on Sunday, we’d just do all the consecrating at home for ourselves.

  • “Everyone who has been baptized is a priest,).

    These serious practical abuses have often originated in doctrinal errors, especially with regard to the nature of the liturgy, the common priesthood of Christians, of the vocation and mission and of the laity and the ordained ministry of priests. “


  • I don’t mean to attack the wonderful residents of state of Massacusetts.  Lord knows the residents of your state do that masochistic deed themselves commendably.  Nor do I deny the high odor of rancidity emanating from the many rotting nuts in Illinois.  After all, a state that has the headquarters of 8th Day Center for Justice certainly better watch pride before a fall.  Yet, as I read your blog, Dom, and the many gothic tales of Catholics walking on a short pier in the fog, I can only be more grateful for the prairie grasses here.

  • There is a provision for “Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest”.  However, these are intended for situations, such as rural parishes, where a priest might not be available.

    Where are these people getting consecrated hosts?  If they are truly consecrated, then some priest is seriously misguided.

  • the same.

    As an aside, the article had a side ad for Univ. of Phoenix pushing a degree in criminal justice.  I wonder if they realize their cop model is a dead ringer for Lynndie “Abu Ghraib” England.

  • Deacon Mike,

    All of the protesting parishioners have long been supplied consecrated Hosts by unnamed and disobedient priests. The archdiocese has apparently done little to stop it, although I suppose they could be “consecrating” them on their own or getting them from laicized priests too.

  • “nce please for the sacrifices that priests make giving up family, hearth and home, marriage in exchange for what- to be told the laity are a priesthood of equal or greater magnitude?

  • No one is elevating the laity.  When Peter, the first pope, referred to the faithful as “a royal priesthood”, he was echoing the words of Exodus (Ex 19:5-6) when the Lord spoke to Moses.  He told Moses to tell the Israelites,  “Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine.  You shall be to me a kingdom of priests,  a holy nation.”

    The notes in the New American Bible point out that the entire Israelite nation was consecrated to God.  They were “a race of royal priests who participated in the liturgical sacrifices, even though the actual offering of the sacrifices was the exclusive prerogative of the Aaronic priesthood.  The same condition exists in the New Dispensation as regards the whole Christian people and the Christian priesthood in the strict sense.”

    There are a lot of reasons for the shortage of priests, but I don’t believe that the “elevation of the laity” is one of them.  On the contrary, a big reason for the lack of vocations may be poor catechesis on what it means to be a Catholic, a “lowering of the laity”.

    Unlike our protestant brethren who can be “saved” just by saying that they are, you can’t become a Catholic until you have gone through a lengthy process, either through RCIA as an adult or through Catholic School/Parish School of Religion as a child. 

    I’m afraid that many who are charged with teaching the faith are doing a poor job, otherwise we wouldn’t be losing so many Catholics to the First Touchy-Feely Church of Good Times, Prosperity and What’s Happening Now.  We also wouldn’t have nominal Catholics responding to surveys that they approve of birth control, abortion, mercy killing, and capital punishment.

    By disrespecting the faith, we’re disrespecting ourselves, and disrespecting the ordained clergy. 

  • Deacon Mike –

    I think you’ll get near-universal agreement in this space about the state of Catholic catechesis in the U.S.  This certainly is contributing to confusion over what the priesthood of the laity really is. 

    Regretfully, many of the defiant folks portrayed in this and countless other media pieces may be too far removed from the Truth to know it when it’s presented to them.  They’re “studying” canon law and the Vatican II documents for soundbites they can use to justify their beliefs.  Just like those Jehovah’s Witnesses do with Scripture when they show up on your doorstep. 

    A starting point to convince these folks of their error might be to come up with a solid soundbite of our own (since that seems to be the duration of their attention span).  Something like “The difference between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of the laity is one of kind, not of degree.”  Repeat, over and over, until it’s something that competes with a snappy falsehood from “The DaVinci Load” for their lawn-mowing / showering / making-copies-in-the-office contemplation time. 

    Only when they’re convinced that there the difference is one of kind, and not of degree, will they be receptive to further exegesis on the matter.

  • Steve,
    Amen, to that.  In my homily for Trinity Sunday, I talked about folks who hold up the “John 3:16” signs at sporting events and the danger of taking a single verse out of context.  I also told a story to illustrate the difference between our faith and the once-saved-always-saved faith.  I can say it’s a great story because I borrowed it from someone else.

    If you’re interested, you can read it at 

  • For those who push the priesthood of the laity, the Councul of Trent in Section 23 has this: An Anathema!

    “And if any one affirm, that all Christians indiscrimately are priests of the New Testament, or that they are all mutually endowed with an equal spiritual power, he clearly does nothing but confound the ecclesiastical hierarchy, which is as an army set in array; as if, contrary to the doctrine of blessed Paul, all were apostles, all prophets, all evangelists, all pastors, all doctors.”

    And for those that confuse the hierarchy:

    CANON VI.—If any one saith, that, in the Catholic Church there is not a hierarchy by divine ordination instituted, consisting of bishops, priests, and ministers; let him be anathema.

    The priesthood of the laity mocks the Sacrament of Holy Orders, it ignores the ontological and jurdical changes that come with ordination, and it pushes Protestant ideas that flowed out of th e [heretical] Protestant Reformation.

    It has no basis before 1962. (Funny how nobody thought of priesthood of the laity before 1962.)

  • Thomas,

    I beg to differ – the Cathecism of the Council of Trent explicitly affirms the priesthood of the laity.

    Regarding the internal priesthood, all the faithful are said to be priests, once they have been washed in the saving waters of Baptism. Especially is this name given to the just who have the Spirit of God, and who, by the help of divine grace, have been made living members of the great High:comment_date>2005-05-31 07:28:13
    2005-05-31 11:28:13
    Zadok –

    You reference a catechism written by James Akin …do you have any references to original texts? James Akin does not bother to provide any.  And James Akin or his views have absolutely no standing.

    At this point, I’ll conisder the italicized text as the words of James Akin until I can read actual Trent documents.

  • It’s not written by James Akin – it’s taken from a translation of the ‘Roman Cathechism’ (also known as the Pius V Cathechism, or the Cathechism of the Council of Trent) done by Rev. John A. McHugh, OP and Chas J. Callan,
    OP. It’s availible on-line on other websites if you don’t trust James Akin.
    Try here (an SSPX favourable site, I fear…) or it can be purchased from TAN books.

  • Pius XII’s Mediator Dei is also interesting:

    83. For there are today, Venerable Brethren, those who, approximating to errors long since condemned teach that in the New Testament by the word “priesthood” is meant only that priesthood which applies to all who have been baptized; and hold that the command by which Christ gave power to His apostles at the Last Supper to do what He Himself had done, applies directly to the entire Christian Church, and that thence, and thence only, arises the hierarchical priesthood. Hence they assert that the people are possessed of a true priestly power, while the priest only acts in virtue of an office committed to him by the community. Wherefore, they look on the eucharistic sacrifice as a “concelebration,” in the literal meaning of that term, and consider it more fitting that priests should “concelebrate” with the people present than that they should offer the sacrifice privately when the people are absent.

  • I would refer you to the current Catechism of the Catholic Church where the term “royal priesthood” is used several times, with references.  1140-1144 gives a good explanation of the distinction between “royal priesthood” and “ministerial priesthood.”  In 1141, it says “The celebrating assembly is the community of the baptized who, “by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, that through all the works of Christian men they may offer spiritual sacrifices.” This “common priesthood” is that of Christ the sole priest, in which all his members participate.”

    1142 continues “But “the members do not all have the same function.” Certain members are called by God, in and through the Church, to a special service of the community. These servants are chosen and consecrated by the sacrament of Holy Orders, by which the Holy Spirit enables them to act in the person of Christ the head, for the service of all the members of the Church. The ordained minister is, as it were, an “icon” of Christ the priest. Since it is in the Eucharist that the sacrament of the Church is made fully visible, it is in his presiding at the Eucharist that the bishop’s ministry is most evident, as well as, in communion with him, the ministry of priests and deacons.”

    This discussion is about semantics.  We’re all equal in the eyes of God.  We just have different function in the life of the Church.

  • This discussion is about semantics.
    Semantics matter.

    We Archbishop. 

    CCC 1144:  “In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should carry out all and only those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the norms of the liturgy.”