EWTN Catholic Q&A
Meeting Mass obligations
Question from B.T. on 08-24-2013:

I know this may sound a little silly but it has caused more than a little discussion and upset some people in our parish. I realize that this is not strictly an apologetics question, but we need some outside opinions.

Our pastor recently said that he is going to lock the restrooms during Mass because too many people have been using them during the liturgy (we have a large number of elderly since we live in a retirement area). He also says that if someone uses the restroom during Mass that the person hasn't fulfilled the Mass obligation and needs to attend another Mass.

Is this true?

Answer by Catholic Answers on 08-25-2013:


Absolutely not. If a person has a physical condition that needs to be taken care of during Mass, he can step out of the liturgy to attend to that need. Physical conditions that keep a person from participating in Mass are just reason to miss all or part of a Mass.

Frankly, your pastor's decision to lock the restrooms during Mass, especially in a church with a large number of people who have a legitimate need for access to a public restroom, borders on cruelty and may well be illegal. I recommend that the parishioners contact the local bishop and ask him to intervene on their behalf with the pastor.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers