Holy Days of Obligation

Question from anon on 11/2/2007:

Don't know if this topic applies here, but you guys usually give the clearest replies. My understanding of holy was shaken when I lived abroad and the holy days were different from the U.S. This was further shaken when I learned that these vary from diocese to diocese. How can the bishop be deciding that if we don't go to church on a particular day we will burn in hell forever, but if I drive 90 miles down the Interstate I don't follow the same fate?

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 11/2/2007:

The conference of bishops of a country is authorized, with the approval of the Vatican, to decide the holy days of obligations for the country.

The U.S. bishops have further divided this up into "regions" of the country for some of the days. This reflects the divisions among the bishops. Unfortunately, these decrees have been approved by the Vatican, although I was a bit surprised that they were approved.

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