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POLL: Is Live Streaming Catholic Mass The Same As Participating?

Fr. Jay Finelli of Tiverton's Holy Ghost Church broadcast his Easter vigil on his website. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence's Roman Catholic Diocese reportedly said viewing it live doesn't count.

It's known that in Tiverton has a strong presence on the Internet, with Fr. Jay Finelli having a worldwide reach with his blog and podcast. He discusses all trending subjects and issues in Catholicism.

With that, Finelli administers live iPadreTV where viewers can watch any mass happening at his church. He has webcams on his ceiling and one near the choir. The first time he conducted a Latin Mass 300 viewers tuned in.

“I think it’s great – another opportunity,” said Father Jay in an interview last year. “We’re not limited. We are everywhere.”

It was no different this weekend where their Saturday night Easter vigil and Sunday morning service streamed live. They will eventually get it posted to the iPadreTV archives.

Bishop Thomas Tobin, of Providence's Roman Catholic Diocese, reportedly told The Providence Journal that watching a live virtual Mass does not "fullfill the obligation" of attending. Other church leaders, including the Vatican, have made differing interpretations of live streaming Mass.

Robert E April 09, 2012 at 12:18 AM
The question was already answered in the article if the Bishop say it doesn't count it doesn't count. Under Canon law the Bishops ruling is final and opinion does not matter the Catholic Church is not a democracy the Bishop set the rules for their Diocese and they are law period end of discussion.
Bob Magnuson April 09, 2012 at 10:36 AM
If a person is a shut-in due to illness or infirmity, or if someone is in an area where there are no Catholic Masses, a streaming or televised Mass gives that person the opportunity to pray along with those actually in attendance. But it is still not considered to be 'attending' a Mass. For any Catholic who is physically able to attend Mass on Sundays or designated holy days, there is a solemn requirement to do so. Unfortunately, this is regarded by many as simply the legitimate subject of a poll. As Robert E has said, the Bishop can, and apparently already has, set the guidelines for our diocese.
Nick F. June 08, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Here is the truth, not a matter of public opinion: Watching Mass on TV is not the same as actively participating within the liturgy of the Church. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated by those physically present, and it makes present the mystery of the Cross and Christ's redemption. The Holy Mass is NOT simply a show to be watched among other shows, to do so would be to debase God's self-manifestation and demerit the gravity of the sacrifice being offered. Two elements of the Mass cannot be shared through the Television Set. Firstly, the Mass is the place where Heaven and Earth meet. The Mass draws up mankind to meet God by listening to His Word (scripture) and receiving the Word (made flesh) in the Eucharist. The Mass is a participation in the Heavenly worship of God (by all of the Angels and the Saints) and it is also a way in which we remember, much like our Jewish ancestors. The Jews in celebrating the Passover meal remembered the Exodus event and by God's power, were given the hope of receiving God's favor. This kind of remembering is called "anamnesis". Catholic Worship, too, celebrates this Anamnesis by remembering the offering of Christ on the Cross and receiving the redemption wrought by it. So we receive (1) the effects of the Cross in a physical way by being present and (2) share in fellowship with one another, the angels, and the saints, participating in heavenly liturgy. Surely this reality cannot be expressed on a TV, but needs to be done in person!

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