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Author Topic: Liturgy Obligation?  (Read 2661 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 11, 2011, 04:44:38 PM »

My girlfriend is Catholic and we attend services with each other on alternating Sundays.  I recently read that as a Catholic she has an obligation to attend a Catholic mass each Sunday or Saturday night.  My question is: do we have a similar obligation?  Am I doing something improper by attending with her on those weeks instead of an Orthodox liturgy?  Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2011, 06:15:42 PM »

The only obligation of which I'm aware is the OCA's rule that those who don't receive Communion on three consecutive Sundays without good reason must go to Confession before receiving from the Chalice again. However, I'm speaking only for my experience, which is limited.
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2011, 06:17:09 PM »

I was told that you can't miss 3 Sunday Liturgies in a row without a good reason.
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2011, 06:26:52 PM »

Well, are you going to her church to pray with them?
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2011, 07:06:57 PM »

I believe it is a mortal sin to miss catholic liturgy without a good reason (which must be confessed), no?
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2011, 07:12:59 PM »

Yes, you cannot miss 3 w/o good reason, but her Church counts attending an Orthodox Church as acceptable under her obligation.
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2011, 07:13:31 PM »

The 3 week rule is not that of the OCA, but of the Holy Canons.  

But no one should misunderstand this.  The canons assume that the faithful are attending Church at least on the Lord's Day and communing, as we see that even a demoniac is to attend on Sundays.  However, they state that one has excommunicated himself or herself (i.e. needing reconciliation through confession) if one misses 3 weeks in a row without just cause (extreme distance, illness, childbirth, etc.).  

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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2011, 07:14:02 PM »

Yes, you cannot miss 3 w/o good reason, but her Church counts attending an Orthodox Church as acceptable under her obligation.

Does weekly vespers count (or does it have to be a Divine Liturgy where holy communion is served)?
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2011, 07:15:03 PM »

Yes, you cannot miss 3 w/o good reason, but her Church counts attending an Orthodox Church as acceptable under her obligation.

True.  The RCC does count attending an Orthodox Liturgy as the fulfilling of the "Sunday obligation" for RC's.
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 07:16:01 PM »

The 3 week rule is not that of the OCA, but of the Holy Canons.  

But no one should misunderstand this.  The canons assume that the faithful are attending Church at least on the Lord's Day and communing, as we see that even a demoniac is to attend on Sundays.  However, they state that one has excommunicated himself or herself (i.e. needing reconciliation through confession) if one misses 3 weeks in a row without just cause (extreme distance, illness, childbirth, etc.).  



I know people who attend Sunday liturgy every week but only commune several times a year. Does this mean that they must confess every 3 weeks in order not to excommunicate themselves?
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 07:17:12 PM »

Yes, you cannot miss 3 w/o good reason, but her Church counts attending an Orthodox Church as acceptable under her obligation.

Even if she can never take Communion?
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2011, 07:29:11 PM »

My girlfriend is Catholic and we attend services with each other on alternating Sundays.  I recently read that as a Catholic she has an obligation to attend a Catholic mass each Sunday or Saturday night.  My question is: do we have a similar obligation?  Am I doing something improper by attending with her on those weeks instead of an Orthodox liturgy?  Thanks!

Just a suggestion, perhaps on the off weeks (the weeks where you attend catholic liturgy), if you care to, you could attend a daily orthros/vespers or even a weekday divine liturgy (assuming your church has these offerings and your schedule permits). Also, I think it might be courteous, especially if this is going to be a long term arrangement, to notify your priest of the situation and why you are attending every other week.
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2011, 07:31:35 PM »

The 3 week rule is not that of the OCA, but of the Holy Canons.  

But no one should misunderstand this.  The canons assume that the faithful are attending Church at least on the Lord's Day and communing, as we see that even a demoniac is to attend on Sundays.  However, they state that one has excommunicated himself or herself (i.e. needing reconciliation through confession) if one misses 3 weeks in a row without just cause (extreme distance, illness, childbirth, etc.).  



I know people who attend Sunday liturgy every week but only commune several times a year. Does this mean that they must confess every 3 weeks in order not to excommunicate themselves?

Confession is a rather pointless exercise if you are not changing your behaviour.
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 07:35:35 PM »

I know people who attend Sunday liturgy every week but only commune several times a year. Does this mean that they must confess every 3 weeks in order not to excommunicate themselves?

It seems from what I've read that frequent communion is only the custom in some places, and that infrequent communion the norm in others.
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2011, 07:38:41 PM »

The 3 week rule is not that of the OCA, but of the Holy Canons.  

But no one should misunderstand this.  The canons assume that the faithful are attending Church at least on the Lord's Day and communing, as we see that even a demoniac is to attend on Sundays.  However, they state that one has excommunicated himself or herself (i.e. needing reconciliation through confession) if one misses 3 weeks in a row without just cause (extreme distance, illness, childbirth, etc.).  



I know people who attend Sunday liturgy every week but only commune several times a year. Does this mean that they must confess every 3 weeks in order not to excommunicate themselves?

Confession is a rather pointless exercise if you are not changing your behaviour.

Your comment is only significant if the canon is addressing particularly the taking of Communion, rather than simply attendance at Liturgy, the latter being my impression of it.
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2011, 07:42:53 PM »

Yes, you cannot miss 3 w/o good reason, but her Church counts attending an Orthodox Church as acceptable under her obligation.

Even if she can never take Communion?

Yes, under  the canons of the RCC they are obligated to attend Mass every Sunday and major feast, but only required to commune once a year during the Easter season. the RCC considers the EO's Divine Lirurgy as a valid celebration of the Eucharist so it considers this having fuffilled the obligation to hear Mass.
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2011, 07:51:12 PM »

The 3 week rule is not that of the OCA, but of the Holy Canons.  

But no one should misunderstand this.  The canons assume that the faithful are attending Church at least on the Lord's Day and communing, as we see that even a demoniac is to attend on Sundays.  However, they state that one has excommunicated himself or herself (i.e. needing reconciliation through confession) if one misses 3 weeks in a row without just cause (extreme distance, illness, childbirth, etc.).  



I know people who attend Sunday liturgy every week but only commune several times a year. Does this mean that they must confess every 3 weeks in order not to excommunicate themselves?

Confession is a rather pointless exercise if you are not changing your behaviour.

Your comment is only significant if the canon is addressing particularly the taking of Communion, rather than simply attendance at Liturgy, the latter being my impression of it.

I wasn't addressing the canon. I was addressing the question regarding confession every three weeks based on not presenting oneself before the chalice on a regular basis. In which case, if a person is not regularly communing, for whatever reason, it makes no sense to go to confession to "lift" the excommunication, especially if the person has no intention of rectifying the behaviour which has excommunicated them in the first place.

Of course, regardless of local custom regarding the frequency of presenting oneself before the chalice, failure to do so regularly must logically lead to excommunication. How can a person who doesn't commune be "in communion?"
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2011, 07:54:53 PM »

Yes, you cannot miss 3 w/o good reason, but her Church counts attending an Orthodox Church as acceptable under her obligation.

Even if she can never take Communion?

Yes, under  the canons of the RCC they are obligated to attend Mass every Sunday and major feast, but only required to commune once a year during the Easter season. the RCC considers the EO's Divine Lirurgy as a valid celebration of the Eucharist so it considers this having fuffilled the obligation to hear Mass.

So then it sounds like they couldn't always go to an EO church if they were not allowed to ever take Communion there.
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2011, 07:57:44 PM »

I wasn't addressing the canon. I was addressing the question regarding confession every three weeks based on not presenting oneself before the chalice on a regular basis. In which case, if a person is not regularly communing, for whatever reason, it makes no sense to go to confession to "lift" the excommunication, especially if the person has no intention of rectifying the behaviour which has excommunicated them in the first place.

Of course, regardless of local custom regarding the frequency of presenting oneself before the chalice, failure to do so regularly must logically lead to excommunication. How can a person who doesn't commune be "in communion?"

I must admit, I don't understand what you're saying here. Who (in authority, anyway) says you must either confess or commune every three weeks? So far as I know, the issue is one of attendance at liturgy, not involvement with the sacraments.  Huh
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« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2011, 08:02:46 PM »

Where I grew up nobody heard of these rules, nobody communed more than a couple of times a year, but I would say that  those were the women, because the men, in majority, didn't even do that, yet everybody got a proper,  church burial .
So, that says they were considered Orthodox enough as they were.
I remember our neighbour, a friend of grandpa, kind of bragging: "I only went to church when they baptized me, for the wedding and the church will come to me when I die." He was a good man.
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« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2011, 08:17:12 PM »

I wasn't addressing the canon. I was addressing the question regarding confession every three weeks based on not presenting oneself before the chalice on a regular basis. In which case, if a person is not regularly communing, for whatever reason, it makes no sense to go to confession to "lift" the excommunication, especially if the person has no intention of rectifying the behaviour which has excommunicated them in the first place.

Of course, regardless of local custom regarding the frequency of presenting oneself before the chalice, failure to do so regularly must logically lead to excommunication. How can a person who doesn't commune be "in communion?"

I must admit, I don't understand what you're saying here. Who (in authority, anyway) says you must either confess or commune every three weeks? So far as I know, the issue is one of attendance at liturgy, not involvement with the sacraments.  Huh

I guess I wanted to highlight the fact that the whole point of the Divine Liturgy is to commune. Ancient practice removed all catechumens and everyone who stayed was to commune. That was the point of being at Divine Liturgy. This whole "not communing regularly" is relatively recent, despite its good intentions.

Of course, as I mentioned in my previous post, any Orthodox Christian in otherwise good standing with the Church who does not commune regularly has excommunicated themselves, and this regardless of any local practice.
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« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2011, 08:19:52 PM »

While the Catholic Church teaches the Orthodox Church's Liturgy is valid and grace filled a Catholic cannot fulfill their obligation by attending a non-Catholic Liturgy.  If a Catholic cannot attend a Catholic Liturgy their obligation is dispensed.  
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« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2011, 08:35:22 PM »

While the Catholic Church teaches the Orthodox Church's Liturgy is valid and grace filled a Catholic cannot fulfill their obligation by attending a non-Catholic Liturgy.  If a Catholic cannot attend a Catholic Liturgy their obligation is dispensed.  

That's the policy even in the Eastern Catholic churches?
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« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2011, 08:44:12 PM »

Quote
Of course, as I mentioned in my previous post, any Orthodox Christian in otherwise good standing with the Church who does not commune regularly has excommunicated themselves, and this regardless of any local practice.
Does once a year count as "regularly" to you?
Because to some, it does.
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« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2011, 09:16:25 PM »

That is not to say it is not praiseworthy to attend Orthodox Liturgies, simply that the obligation is to attend a Catholic Liturgy, if one cannot attend a Catholic Liturgy there is no obligation.

From the CCEO:

Canon 881

1. The Christian faithful are bound by the obligation to participate on Sundays and feast days in the Divine Liturgy, or according to the prescriptions or legitimate customs of their own Church sui iuris, in the celebration of the divine praises.

2.  In order for the Christian faithful to fulfill this obligation more easily, the available time runs from the evening of the vigil until the end of the Sunday or feast day.

3. The Christian faithful are strongly recommended to receive the Divine Eucharist on these days and indeed more frequently, even daily.

4. The Christian faithful should abstain from those labors or business matters which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord's day, or to the proper relaxation of mind and body.
 
From the CIC:

Can.  1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.  Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

Can.  1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

§2. If participation in the eucharistic celebration becomes impossible because of the absence of a sacred minister or for another grave cause, it is strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the word if such a liturgy is celebrated in a parish church or other sacred place according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop or that they devote themselves to prayer for a suitable time alone, as a family, or, as the occasion permits, in groups of families.

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« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2011, 09:24:25 PM »

I wasn't addressing the canon. I was addressing the question regarding confession every three weeks based on not presenting oneself before the chalice on a regular basis. In which case, if a person is not regularly communing, for whatever reason, it makes no sense to go to confession to "lift" the excommunication, especially if the person has no intention of rectifying the behaviour which has excommunicated them in the first place.

Of course, regardless of local custom regarding the frequency of presenting oneself before the chalice, failure to do so regularly must logically lead to excommunication. How can a person who doesn't commune be "in communion?"

I must admit, I don't understand what you're saying here. Who (in authority, anyway) says you must either confess or commune every three weeks? So far as I know, the issue is one of attendance at liturgy, not involvement with the sacraments.  Huh

I guess I wanted to highlight the fact that the whole point of the Divine Liturgy is to commune. Ancient practice removed all catechumens and everyone who stayed was to commune. That was the point of being at Divine Liturgy. This whole "not communing regularly" is relatively recent, despite its good intentions.

Of course, as I mentioned in my previous post, any Orthodox Christian in otherwise good standing with the Church who does not commune regularly has excommunicated themselves, and this regardless of any local practice.

This makes sense when the main prayers in the second half of the liturgy don't make sense unless cpmmunion is intended.
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« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2011, 10:02:55 PM »

I wasn't addressing the canon. I was addressing the question regarding confession every three weeks based on not presenting oneself before the chalice on a regular basis. In which case, if a person is not regularly communing, for whatever reason, it makes no sense to go to confession to "lift" the excommunication, especially if the person has no intention of rectifying the behaviour which has excommunicated them in the first place.

Of course, regardless of local custom regarding the frequency of presenting oneself before the chalice, failure to do so regularly must logically lead to excommunication. How can a person who doesn't commune be "in communion?"

I must admit, I don't understand what you're saying here. Who (in authority, anyway) says you must either confess or commune every three weeks? So far as I know, the issue is one of attendance at liturgy, not involvement with the sacraments.  Huh

I guess I wanted to highlight the fact that the whole point of the Divine Liturgy is to commune. Ancient practice removed all catechumens and everyone who stayed was to commune. That was the point of being at Divine Liturgy. This whole "not communing regularly" is relatively recent, despite its good intentions.

Of course, as I mentioned in my previous post, any Orthodox Christian in otherwise good standing with the Church who does not commune regularly has excommunicated themselves, and this regardless of any local practice.

This makes sense when the main prayers in the second half of the liturgy don't make sense unless cpmmunion is intended.

Yet one can pray for the good Communion of the community while not necessarily having one's self in that intention.
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« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2011, 10:09:52 PM »

Where I grew up nobody heard of these rules, nobody communed more than a couple of times a year, but I would say that  those were the women, because the men, in majority, didn't even do that, yet everybody got a proper,  church burial .
So, that says they were considered Orthodox enough as they were.
I remember our neighbour, a friend of grandpa, kind of bragging: "I only went to church when they baptized me, for the wedding and the church will come to me when I die." He was a good man.

While I appreciate that you often give us a better picture of Orthodox "on the ground" in the Old World versus some kind of intellectualized American middle-class Orthodoxy, I don't understand why you are acting as if this is a good thing. He might have been a nice enough guy, but shouldn't we want to go to church and to take His Body and Blood? It just seems like you're acting like this is preferable to frequent attendance, so I'm confused.
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« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2011, 10:26:14 PM »

The 3 week rule is not that of the OCA, but of the Holy Canons.  
But no one should misunderstand this.  The canons assume that the faithful are attending Church at least on the Lord's Day and communing, as we see that even a demoniac is to attend on Sundays.  However, they state that one has excommunicated himself or herself (i.e. needing reconciliation through confession) if one misses 3 weeks in a row without just cause (extreme distance, illness, childbirth, etc.).  
I know people who attend Sunday liturgy every week but only commune several times a year. Does this mean that they must confess every 3 weeks in order not to excommunicate themselves?

The "misses" in the last sentence is referring to Liturgy.   Sorry for the ambiguity 
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« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2011, 10:36:00 PM »

Yet one can pray for the good Communion of the community while not necessarily having one's self in that intention.

Then you're excluding yourself, time and again, from the community.
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« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2011, 10:38:50 PM »

Yet one can pray for the good Communion of the community while not necessarily having one's self in that intention.

Then you're excluding yourself, time and again, from the community.

Indeed. However, the person I was responding to made it sound like that saying the prayers in the Anaphora are simply for the purpose of ourselves receiving Communion and thus there is no point in participating if we are not going to partake.
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« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2011, 10:39:58 PM »

^ Right.  Indeed, the prayers are for everyone in the congregation, not merely personal.  The only personal prayers of the Liturgy are for the celebrant.
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« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2011, 10:52:53 PM »

Yet one can pray for the good Communion of the community while not necessarily having one's self in that intention.

Then you're excluding yourself, time and again, from the community.

Indeed. However, the person I was responding to made it sound like that saying the prayers in the Anaphora are simply for the purpose of ourselves receiving Communion and thus there is no point in participating if we are not going to partake.

There are still prayers like the "I believe O Lord and confess.." before communion which is personal and the other prayers still use inclusive language like "we", "us", "our", etc implying that the one praying is part of the community.
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« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2011, 11:08:40 PM »

Yet one can pray for the good Communion of the community while not necessarily having one's self in that intention.

Then you're excluding yourself, time and again, from the community.

Indeed. However, the person I was responding to made it sound like that saying the prayers in the Anaphora are simply for the purpose of ourselves receiving Communion and thus there is no point in participating if we are not going to partake.

There are still prayers like the "I believe O Lord and confess.." before communion which is personal and the other prayers still use inclusive language like "we", "us", "our", etc implying that the one praying is part of the community.

Well, I would admit that the Pre-Communion Prayers may be mostly pointless if one is not partaking.
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« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2011, 11:49:23 PM »

I wonder if prayers don't have some worth, even if they are not directly about us. For example, in daily prayers you will sometimes see prayers that give a long list of sins that you are praying/asking forgiveness for. Even if only 28 out of 30 of those sins apply to you, does that mean that you cut out the rest of the sins? I expect that no one cuts them out, but then does that mean that repeating them amounts to "vain repetitions"? I suspect not, but rather would say that they possibly have worth even if they are not directly applicable on that particular day. Just saying them, or being in the presence of someone else saying them, has some worth. Likewise with baptism, or marriage, or priestly ordination, or other times, are the prayers not meaningful even if we are only involved in less active role, as listeners and pray-ers?
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« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2011, 12:09:39 AM »

While the Catholic Church teaches the Orthodox Church's Liturgy is valid and grace filled a Catholic cannot fulfill their obligation by attending a non-Catholic Liturgy.  If a Catholic cannot attend a Catholic Liturgy their obligation is dispensed.  

This has always been my understanding as well.
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« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2011, 04:04:36 PM »

Yes, you cannot miss 3 w/o good reason, but her Church counts attending an Orthodox Church as acceptable under her obligation.

True.  The RCC does count attending an Orthodox Liturgy as the fulfilling of the "Sunday obligation" for RC's.

I asked this question on the Catholic Answers forum, and received the opposite answer from everyone that responded - an Orthodoxy liturgy does *not* fulfill her mass obligation.

I have informed my priest of our intention, and he hasn't objected.  We also received the approval of our bishop to be married in a Catholic wedding so long as we also have an Orthodox crowning service.
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« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2011, 04:13:19 PM »

It does not fulfill but it's not forbidden.
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« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2011, 04:22:52 PM »

Thank you for the clarifications!  Our intention was to get to know each other's churches better and develop a common spiritual life, but this is going to be more difficult that I originally thought.  She frankly doesn't care about the mass obligation, her exact response was "Pffft" and "then I guess every Catholic in my family must be going to hell as well since they don't attend every week."  I realize the problems with disregarding a church's canons, but at this point I think arguing the point with her would just harden her resolve and make her angry.  My concern is that I don't want to be leading her into what her church considers a mortal sin, though of course attending with me is her decision.  Overall, I think attending services with each other has been a very enriching experience, particularly for me as I've visited a number of Catholic parishes, eastern and Roman, and gotten a feel for it personally rather than just theologically.  Just to be clear we do *not* commune outside of our own churches.
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« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2011, 04:39:14 PM »

Well, to be fair, the "official" position of the RCC on this is not clear:

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

There are currently two interpretations employed by RC bishops:

1.  This refers to only to masses celebrated by those in union with the Vatican
2.  "in a Catholic rite" includes the Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, etc. and thus "anywhere" allows for it to include all places where there are sacraments that are recognized as valid. 



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« Reply #40 on: January 12, 2011, 08:04:02 PM »

Thank you for the clarifications!  Our intention was to get to know each other's churches better and develop a common spiritual life, but this is going to be more difficult that I originally thought.  She frankly doesn't care about the mass obligation, her exact response was "Pffft" and "then I guess every Catholic in my family must be going to hell as well since they don't attend every week."  I realize the problems with disregarding a church's canons, but at this point I think arguing the point with her would just harden her resolve and make her angry.  My concern is that I don't want to be leading her into what her church considers a mortal sin, though of course attending with me is her decision.  Overall, I think attending services with each other has been a very enriching experience, particularly for me as I've visited a number of Catholic parishes, eastern and Roman, and gotten a feel for it personally rather than just theologically.  Just to be clear we do *not* commune outside of our own churches.
If she does not care what her church says or teaches, why even attend that church?
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« Reply #41 on: January 12, 2011, 08:18:04 PM »

Yes, you cannot miss 3 w/o good reason, but her Church counts attending an Orthodox Church as acceptable under her obligation.
Nope.
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« Reply #42 on: January 12, 2011, 08:54:17 PM »

Yes, you cannot miss 3 w/o good reason, but her Church counts attending an Orthodox Church as acceptable under her obligation.
Nope.
Well, to be fair, the "official" position of the RCC on this is not clear:

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

There are currently two interpretations employed by RC bishops:

1.  This refers to only to masses celebrated by those in union with the Vatican
2.  "in a Catholic rite" includes the Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, etc. and thus "anywhere" allows for it to include all places where there are sacraments that are recognized as valid.
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