Attending Mass with a Cold from Jimmy Akin Blog


#1

I was over on Mr. Akin’s blog and found an article about not going to mass if you have a cold. here is a snip:

It is, in my opinion, an act objectively contrary to the virtue of charity to show up at Mass (or work) with a contagious case of cold or flu or any other similar illness (e.g., strep throat) unless there is a specific, counterbalancing factor of proportionate weight (like, “I’m supposed to get married at this Mass” or “I’ll get fired if I don’t clock in today”).

I’m not sure how to give a link to a blog, hope this is it jimmyakin.org/moral_theology/index.html

I have never refrained from going to mass with a cold. But part of what he points out is that the germs from your hand could transfer to the pew and stay there for 2 weeks. It is inevitable that I’ll touch the pew.

I go to work with a cold too, because my employers want that. But if I am not supposed to go to mass with a cold, I suppose I could not go. But it would seem odd to go to work then. I’d still go to the grocery store too (need to eat).

Any thoughts on this not going to mass (or other places) with a cold?


#2

I dunno, sounds like a cheap cop-out to me. But hey, my mom always sent me to school, it didn’t matter what I had (though I don’t really get sick). I am of the opinion that people should still go to Mass, even with a cold. And, if the other parishoners are worried about it being contagious, then they should refrain from touching their faces (easiest way to get sick, don’t get near your eyes, nose, or mouth with those germs), and possibly receive Communion on the tongue rather than the hand. Then, they wash their hands at home, drink some OJ, and get a good night’s sleep. I would personally feel more uncharitable if I told someone not to come to Mass with a cold. Why exclude them when it is so simple to allow them to come and then prevent your own illness?

Eamon


#3

[quote=turboEDvo]I would personally feel more uncharitable if I told someone not to come to Mass with a cold.
[/quote]

You picked up on something here…I had felt excluded when thinking about not being able to go to mass with a cold. Admittedly a selfish feeling on my part.


#4

I have spent many happy hours listening to Jimmy Akin on the radio, but I don’t agree with him on this one. I have attended Mass practically every Sunday since I was a baby. This includes when I am traveling and when I am not feeling well.

I suffer from a dust mite allergy, and I really have a terrible time telling if I am suffering from a cold or an allergy. A cold would be contagious, but an allergy would not be. If I missed Mass when I was sick, I would probably miss Mass half the time during winter.

If I wake up with the above symptoms, plus a pounding headache, a terrible sore throat, and a feeling that I have been run over by a truck, then I will stay home from Mass. I probably don’t miss Mass on Sunday more than once or twice a year.

P.S. I do pass up the Communion Cup if I am suffering from a bad sore throat.


#5

I suffer from a dust mite allergy, and I really have a terrible time telling if I am suffering from a cold or an allergy.

I hear you one this one. Well, that is, I will hear you once I pop my ears and shake all the stuffing out.:smiley:

I agree. If I am the walking dead, then I don’t go to mass, but that is quite rare.


#6

It is comforting to hear that one should miss Mass because of having a cold. This just happened to me a few weeks ago. I felt completely awful and had been coughing relentlessly throughout the entire weekend. Even though my symptoms had let up by the scheduled Mass time, I knew I would not be fully present in mind if I physically went.


#7

Unless I can’t get out of bed, I will go to mass. I think this stems from my upbringing. My parents used to tell me there would be time to sleep in hell if I missed mass. Oh, and then this, “quit your whinnin. You just have a little cold.” My parent’s home was not a hotbed for sympathy. And deservedly so - as I realize now.

I also pass up on shaking hands at the sign of peace. I just let others know I am not feeling well. I think they respect that. At least I do when someone smiles at me and says they have a cold.


#8

There are people with respiratory problems that a simple cold can complicate. I think he is very correct in saying this. We are not obligated to go to Mass if we’re ill so why take the chance on making another ill? EWTN offers Mass on TV and radio for those unable to attend.


#9

If you have a hacking, non-stop cough, please stay home.

If you have untreated strep throat, please stay home. (and get treatment immediately, as strep can infect your heart).

If you must blow your nose loudly every few minutes, please stay home.

This, to me, is common courtesy and good hygiene sense. Just because YOU feel obligated to attend while you are suffering from sore throat, sneezing, coughing, does NOT mean I wish to share your illness with you.

That is what EWTN is for.


#10

[quote=Catholic90]If you have a hacking, non-stop cough, please stay home.

If you have untreated strep throat, please stay home. (and get treatment immediately, as strep can infect your heart).

If you must blow your nose loudly every few minutes, please stay home.

This, to me, is common courtesy and good hygiene sense. Just because YOU feel obligated to attend while you are suffering from sore throat, sneezing, coughing, does NOT mean I wish to share your illness with you.

That is what EWTN is for.
[/quote]

AMEN!!!


#11

[quote=Pug] But if I am not supposed to go to mass with a cold, I suppose I could not go. But it would seem odd to go to work then. I’d still go to the grocery store too (need to eat).

Any thoughts on this not going to mass (or other places) with a cold?
[/quote]

I recently read, in response to a question about missing Mass - if you would go somewhere else - to work, to the grocery, to a social gathering, etc., then not going to Mass would be a mortal sin.

Anyway, colds are a part of life some of us get them easily and others hardly ever get them. They are usually over (not cured!) within a week or so. Also, as far as I know, they are mostly spread by breathing in the virus - not from shaking hands, etc. Does anyone really know how long the virus lives outside of the nice warm and humid human respiratory system? Not long, I should think.

If you are feeling sick enough to stay home from work and to not go to the movies or dinner at a restaurant, then you are definitely sick enough to stay home from Mass. :smiley:


#12

Between this and his recent take on excluding children from Catholic schools based on the sin level of their parents, I think Aikin is slipping a bit. He seems to be promoting a Catholic exculsivity club that is so exculsive, it would be almost impossible to be a member. That is contrary to the Gospel.


#13

Well, working in medicine I try to make it a point to not come to work if I’m feeling sick in a contagious way. I work with the elderly a lot, and even a simple cold can be a huge risk for them. Likewise, there are many elderly at my Church, and I’d hate to think that I was the cause of their death from pneumonia. I wouldn’t tell anyone else to not come, but I do think that if you know you’re sick with a contagious illness, I would seriously consider taking a day off from Mass. As always, YMMV.


#14

Just wanted to thank everyone for their replies! Of course, any more thoughts are welcome.


#15

Maybe the followin Paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church will help. The problem I have is determing what kind of “illness” would make me not obligated to go. I base my decision on whether or not I would do anything else later in the day that would require me to get out around people. I also struggle with keeping the entire Day holy as we should. I know that going to Mass isn’t what makes the day holy. As 2185 explains, there is a lot more to it than just getting to church for Mass. If we do have an illness, we can still keep the day holy at home. For some, maybe going to Mass is what is going to help them get well. I wouldn’t say anyone should’ve stayed home, but I stay home when my children are sick. I figure caring for them is also keeping the day holy - accepting just work (see 2185 ending).

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. 119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. 123 Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.

The charity of truth seeks holy leisure- the necessity of charity accepts just work. 124


#16

[quote=agzag]It is comforting to hear that one should miss Mass because of having a cold. This just happened to me a few weeks ago. I felt completely awful and had been coughing relentlessly throughout the entire weekend. Even though my symptoms had let up by the scheduled Mass time, I knew I would not be fully present in mind if I physically went.
[/quote]

Believe it or not, that’s my status more often than not, mainly from posting on sites like this late on Saturday nights.

It’s not nearly as important to be “fully present” as it is to be physically there.

You won’t believe what I’ve realized in a dream state during the Canon. I’ll only say that I couldn’t have experienced this if I hadn’t taken my addle-pated self to Mass and just allowed my self to be there.

You also have to remember that when you go to Mass, you have the chance to fo up and receive our Lord. And, you don’t have to be “fully present” to “discern his body and blood” and to receive the Grace that comes in the Sacrament.

If I denied myself that grace just because I couldn’t be “fully present”, I don’t knwow how I’d tesist the pulls and temptations of this world and of my all too sinful flesh.

I know an old man who was nearly killed in an auto accident. As soon as he could drag himself to the Church, he came, so he could be with his friends and receive the Sacrament (Our Priests were taking it out to him every couplre of days).

This is more a game of “Suit-up and show-up” than it is anything else. Try it next time, and don’t stay in bed, unless you absolutely can’t get out of bed. If that happens, call your Priest and arrange for him to bring you the Sacrament in bed.

That’s my Quarters worth (inflation, you know).

Blessings and peace.

In Christ, Michael


#17

[quote=KDoerr]There are people with respiratory problems that a simple cold can complicate. I think he is very correct in saying this. We are not obligated to go to Mass if we’re ill so why take the chance on making another ill? EWTN offers Mass on TV and radio for those unable to attend.
[/quote]

KDoerr:

If we use your standard, many people would not go to Mass or would attand so rarely as to not be able to derive the benifit or the Grace available. Remember, we do not receive the grace by listening to or watching EWTN!

Regarding people with respiratory problems, I go to a Church where we had a member who was undergoing Chemotherapy! The rule for Chemo is NO contact with anyone unless you know that person is WELL! Most people who are incubating colds, etc. do NOT even know they have them, until they are SYMPTOMATIC.

At some point, it is the responsibility of people who have impaired immune systems, respiratory infections, etc. to SAY to others near them that that is the case, and for those others to realize that they may not come ANY CLOSER THAN THOSE PEOPLE SAY THEY CAN!

THAT DOESN’T REQUIRE THAT ANYONE MISS MASS! That only requires that we pay attention to each other’s health, and that we don’t let our fellings get hurt if people can’t shake our hands for some reason.

We’re talking about COMMUNICATION, NOT MISSING MASS! I would never have people denied the Grace of God because of a COLD!

Blessings and Peace!

In Peace, Michael


#18

[quote=Ghosty]Well, working in medicine I try to make it a point to not come to work if I’m feeling sick in a contagious way. I work with the elderly a lot, and even a simple cold can be a huge risk for them. Likewise, there are many elderly at my Church, and I’d hate to think that I was the cause of their death from pneumonia. I wouldn’t tell anyone else to not come, but I do think that if you know you’re sick with a contagious illness, I would seriously consider taking a day off from Mass. As always, YMMV.
[/quote]

One of the Priests in my parish retired from working with AIDS patients about 7 years ago (he started when they called it GRID). 20-30 of his surviving patients showed up to his ordination some 15 months ago.

Our parish also has some older and more sickly people in it. In another post, you’ll see the story of the someone who was undergoing chemotherapy.

We recently had several people miss High Mass due to sickness - They got it at work.

You don’t have to sit next to everybody if you have a cold. You can sit give yourself a few extra feet and skip shaking hands during the Passing of the Peace.

Otherwise, I’d think you’d be unnecessarily denying yourself the Grace of God.

Blessings and Good Night.

In Christ, Michael


#19

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