Celebrity cruise line and Royal Caribbean are among the luxury ships taking to the high seas without a priest on board to celebrate Sunday Mass for Catholic vacationers. Apparently it was a problem providing Catholic Mass when the cruise lines did not also provide services for every other denomination. No one addressed the fact that for Catholics, unlike many other denominations, missing Sunday Mass is a mortal sin. Now Catholics may have to make due with interdenominational or prerecorded services.
One pop culture "expert" likened the decision to drop Sunday Mass to airlines dropping the traditional peanut snack of days gone by. Are we really comparing the Catholic desire and obligation to participate in Sunday Eucharist to the hungry hordes aboard airplanes who can't get through a two-hour flight without a honey-roasted snack? As if canceling Mass wasn't offensive enough.
In an article on Religion News Service, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights took issue with the decision:
"The group suggested that Catholic travelers who are 'serious about their faith' examine their options before booking with Celebrity. Catholics are unique, the group noted, because the faith requires members to observe weekly liturgy, which can only be led by a priest.
“'Why punish the Catholic priests and cruise-goers?' wondered Susan Fani, spokeswoman for the Catholic League. Instead of adding religious leaders from other faiths, she said, Celebrity was reacting to 'anti-Catholic' complaints."
Read the full story HERE. (FYI: Holland America still provides priests on board for weekly Mass.) And then tell us in the comment section: Would you choose or refuse a cruise line based on whether Sunday Mass was available?