My diocesan inbox late evening 5-14-2021 contained a decree from the Vicar General about the lifting of dispensation from the obligation for attending Holy Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. In other words, the obligation to attend Mass under pain of mortal sin is back as it has been for the last couple of thousand years.
Well, you know, that’s said with the idea of all things being equal.
In other words, positive law such as this, demanding that someone do something, is aimed at what is possible. Thus, such law does not apply if one is in traction in a hospital fighting for one’s life after a severe car accident. It’s not possible for you to attend Holy Mass in such conditions, and therefore there’s no sin for not attending Mass. That should be easy to understand.
Another example: I tell people not to venture out to Mass on a Sunday morning if — in this parish — their driveways made of slick cement have a slope of 30 degrees from the top of a mountain ridge right down to the main road far below, that is, when we’ve just had an ice storm and the ice won’t melt for weeks. Get it?
Now, make the analogy with Covid-19 precautions. If you’re in imminent peril because you have co-morbidities and you’re scared, then don’t come. Pray at home! Plenty of people are so frail that they wouldn’t come to church when there is a normal influenza outbreak. I respect that. If you can’t come, you can’t come. Simple.
If you can, well, there you are, you can. Simple.