Sometimes people use the term "hearing Mass". For example, it is used in the Six Precepts of the Church where it is a translation of the Latin "Missam audire":

  1. To hear Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and to refrain from servile work.

  2. Diebus Dominicis ceterisque festis de praecepto Missam audire et ab operibus servilibus vacare.

What does the term "hearing Mass" mean?

What about deaf people who cannot hear?

Perhaps "hearing" could be a problematic translation?

1 Answer 1


What does the term hearing Mass mean?

Although the Latin text does employ the word to hear (audire) in this passage, the term or expression would be better translated as to mean attend or participate in the mass in this circumstance.

Praecepta Ecclesiae

2042 Primum praeceptum («Diebus Dominicis ceterisque festis de praecepto Missam audire et ab operibus servilibus vacare») a fidelibus exigit diem in quo resurrectio Domini commemoratur, necnon praecipuas liturgicas festivitates quae Domini, beatae Virginis Mariae et sanctorum honorant mysteria, sanctificare, imprimis eucharisticam participando celebrationem, in qua communitas congregatur christiana, atque ab illis requiescere laboribus et negotiis quae talem horum dierum sanctificationem possint impedire.

The Precepts of the Church

2042 The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.") requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community gathers together on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord.

In the Extraordinary Rite of the Mass, the Canon of the Mass is said in a low voice and is inaudible to most except the ministers who are onear the altar. So to think audire is to be literally translated as to means hear the mass is a misconception.

  • So "audio" has a broader meaning than just "I hear"? Or did the "I hear" have another meaning in the old days? Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 11:28
  • 1
    @harryjansson At least in this circumstance.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 11:48

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