Question: Does watching Mass on TV fulfill my Sunday obligation?
Answer: In the age of instant communication, email, voice mail and teleconferencing, many people wonder if these media of communication can be used for sacraments. Many priests, I am sure, have had people ask about going to confession on the phone. While it may seem like a convenient way to do things, there are many reasons why we don’t.
Watching the Mass on television can be a good thing, especially for those who are shut-in. But it really doesn’t fulfill our obligation. The obligation to attend Mass is more than just simply listening to the Mass or following the prayers and the readings. Gathering together as a community of faith is important. Sacraments are community events where we encounter God and one another. When we gather together, we are most visibly the Church, the Body of Christ. Besides, television is a one-way medium. It allows us to watch without really being able to give a response. In faith, our response is as important as anything that we hear. We need to take an active part in the religious expression of our community.