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John wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a 68-year-old married man who tends to be a scrupulous Roman Catholic.

I truly love my Presbyterian wife of 45 years who wants to take a vacation to Greece and Turkey. We would be there for three Sundays.

  • Would going to a Greek Orthodox Mass meet my Sunday Obligation to attend Mass?
  • If not, would I be committing a grave sin by missing Mass while in Greece and Turkey?

My heart says it is better to show love for my wife by taking her on this vacation, that she so much wants to, do even though I might miss Mass. I hope I am not just rationalizing this.

I am in a moral dilemma and would appreciate some advice and guidance.

John

  { Would going to a Greek Orthodox Mass meet my Sunday Obligation to attend Mass? }

Mike replied:

Hi John,

Thanks for the question.

We have had answer a question similar to this in the past.

Although the Greek Orthodox do have valid, licit sacraments, because the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches are not in full communion, you would not be able to fulfill your Sunday obligation, except in cases of emergency. I'm not totally sure what would be considered an emergency by the Church's standards, but a vacation certainly wouldn't fall into that category.

I wouldn't sweat it though, MassTimes.org can usually provide you with a nearby Catholic parish:


I hope this helps,

Mike

John replied:


Thanks for your reply.

I will be on the Greek Island of Patmos on Sunday. St. John wrote the book of Revelation on this island. There are many Greek Churches but could not find a Catholic one.

  • Could I attend one of these?

John

Eric replied:

Hi John,

If you cannot find a Catholic Church at all, you would of course be excused from going, because the law does not demand the impossible. Even if it is merely exceedingly inconvenient, you might not be obliged to go to Mass, although inconvenient is not well defined. Certainly if you'd have to drive three hours to go to Mass, I'd consider that excusable.

The key question is:

  • are you trying to get out of Mass, or
  • making a good faith effort to go but thwarted by circumstance despite your best efforts?

Do your best diligence and then don't worry about it. Surely if you're on Patmos there is a Catholic priest somewhere celebrating Mass, probably with pilgrims, though it may be hard to find him.

Try hanging around the pilgrimage spots on Sunday. If you're traveling with a tour company, they may know of a Catholic Church.

Check this out and see if it helps:

Eric

John replied:


Thank you and May God Bless all that you do.

John

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