With all of the hype about new iPhones Busted Halo has a timely post “Is watching Mass on TV or on my iPhone just as good as going to Mass?”
It may depend. Mike Hays sets the table after a fashion when he writes “No. ” But he quickly adds “Television and Internet broadcasts of Mass are useful for the sick or those unable to get to Mass because of some other infirmity.
However he squarely addresses another dimension of the question.
“If you were to miss Mass because you are purposely choosing to attend another event (say, a baseball game) that is a violation of the commandment to honor the Sabbath.”
He backs it up the following section of the Catholic Catechism
You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests.
He also addresses another aspect of the question that arises when there is no priest available. Again, from the Catholic Catechism
What is required is to gather as a Christian assembly of faith, not necessarily Mass, per se. There are plenty of parishes in the country, and many outside of the United States, that have no resident priest and therefore cannot have a Mass. They have Sunday celebrations in the absence of a priest, more commonly known as communion services. They read the liturgy of the Word and have pre-consecrated hosts from another holy sacrifice of the Mass held elsewhere.”
For those who are legitimately impeded from joining an assembly of faith many dioceses and Catholic sites offer an option