Can someone logically explain why skipping Sunday Mass is a mortal sin?

I’ve misunderstood the nature of mortal sin in the past, but skipping Mass with full knowledge seems to be pretty clear cut as being categorized as a “mortal” sin.

I read this:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=797697

But I don’t find the answer to be satisfactory. Why does skipping Sunday Mass merit one’s soul for hell? So if a man, with full knowledge of Church teaching of obligatory Sunday Mass, decided to skip Mass to watch the Super Bowl (mortal sin), and choked on a Dorrito while watching it and died, why does he deserve hell?

It’s not like God needs our worship correct to survive or anything. The cynical side of me says the Church just made up this rule so it could get money from parishioners every week. Nothing about the words “keep the Sabbath holy,” an Old Testament commandment, implies to me we have to go to a Roman Catholic church every week, listen to a potentially awful homily, tackle each other to shake hands with people, then get in a line to take the Eucharist, everyone making a bee-line for the priest over the Eucharistic ministers, with the Church “clique” parishioners typically first. It seems like an unnecessary social hurdle that could actually inhibit and damage one’s faith.

  1. Mortal sin is sin against charity.
  2. Charity means love of God for His own sake
  3. Sin is essentially putting your own will against God’s will
  4. If you skip mass when you are able to attend then it means that you choose your will against God’s will
  5. Thus, it is mortal sin, for you knew what God expected from you, but for whatever reason you chose not to do it, you placed your own love above the love of God (Jesus said "if you love me, you will obey my commandmends)

Whilst not strick syllogilism, I hope it helps!

How about this as a quick reason.

In choosing to skip mass to do other things one is putting worldly endeavors before God. In esscence it is saying that the stupid bowl (to use your example) is more worthy of your time than God. Rejecting God for worldly reasons seperates us from Him. That’s exactly what sin is; that what seperates us from God.

Don’t feed your cynical side. :stuck_out_tongue:

Just to get the caveat out of the way up front, I’ll say that no one is in the position to judge the fate of another’s soul. Did that guy who choked on a dorito during the Super Bowl have “full knowledge” and “complete consent”? I couldn’t say. Would God perhaps give him a moment – a fraction of a second where his life flashes before his eyes – for him to recognize the gravity of all of his sins and for him to offer up one last perfect act of contrition before death? Perhaps. We just don’t know and thus we hold out hope for the salvation of all.

That said, the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday isn’t because God needs our worship. It isn’t because the Church needs our money. It’s because we need it. We need to spend time with God. We need to spend time worshipping God with each other. No man is an island, after all.

So, to give us what we need and to emphazise the importance of spending time in prayer together and participating in the celebration of the Eucharist – the source and summit of our Christian faith, the Church makes this an obligation. And what a minimal obligation it is! One paltry hour a week.

The Church has the power to do this because Jesus gave it to Her. He gave the apostles and their successors the power to bind and loose. And thank God that He did. That is what allows us to receive the graces of the Sacrament of Confession – to have that certitude that God has forgiven us these sins we have committed and will give us the grace to overcome them in the future.

So rather than begrudging the Church one meager hour every week, we should embrace the immense and awesome wonder that is present in every celebration of the Mass. We should hunger to go and be fed. To receive the Bread from Heaven to nourish our souls. We should ache to go as often as possible to be united with our Beloved in this Holy Communion. Indeed, once a week should not be enough!

I wonder if you realize how negative you sound here? As if God weren’t due our love and allegiance for the simple act of creating us and sustaining our lives. Is a few hours a week so much to ask for all he has given us? What better things would you do with your time on Sunday or a Saturday evening?

And what has the commandment being in the OT have to do with anything? Those commandments are the basics of natural law, not merely whims invented by men. If we are not to murder others, for example, then why is keeping the day holy not on the same level? Are we to starting bumping off our neighbors merely because we find them annoying? According to your argument here, that’s just what we could do. :shrug:

Truly, you don’t make any sense with your arguments which are nothing more, quite frankly, than complaints about being a little inconvenienced. We gather as a community because the Mass is communal worship. God deserves at least this much from us, although, in reality we owe him everything. I think you have your priorities wrong, my friend.

Fact is, attending Sunday and Holy Day of obligation is one of the Precepts of the Church.

Try this from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

II. THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor: 2042 The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor”) requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.82

The little ‘82’ footnote denotes that this passage comes from reading from CANON LAW.

Why didn’t superbowl guy go to Mass on Saturday instead? Or early morning on Sunday? If your sister invited you to her house for Sunday dinner and you thought, “Oh I don’t want to waste my time doing that! My sister is boring. Her kid are ugly and annoying. She’ll probably make something vegetarian. What a waste of my time. It’d rather go out my with own friends who are much cooler or just stay home and watch TV.”
That would demonstrate an awful lot of contempt for your sister. Well, God is inviting you to His table. If you refuse the invitation because you have cooler people to hang out with or you’d just rather sleep in, you are showing Him contempt and you seperate yourself from him. If you go with a lousy attitude, roll your eyes, and spend the time complaining and judging others, you are showing Him contempt and you seperate yourself from Him. If you go with a grateful and loving attitude in hopes that you will hear His Word and recieve His grace, then you will be bonded closer with him.

There are lots of answers for this, but perhaps the most obvious is because God told us to do this. Disobeying God’s commandments is the stuff from which mortal sin is made.

So go to mass on Sundays and days of obligation. That’s the bare minimum. To barely scrape across the finish line and slide into purgatory, you need to go to mass on days of obligation (which include every Sunday), fast during Lent (and every Friday avoid meat unless you are American and substitute that with other penance when not in Lent), go to confession at least once per year (and whenever you commit a mortal sin).

If you do those things, then you make the minimum effort necessary. I might have missed one or two things, but that’s about the gist of it.

That’s not super-Catholic level of commitment but what would get you a grade of C in college. It’s just enough to pass.

The pew tax was abolished decades ago and was an unfortunate recent development at that.

The necessity to assist at Mass and that to support the Church (which, BTW, does not have to be financial support) are much older and strictly separate.

  1. It is a commandment.

  2. There are 168 hours in a week, and God asks us to spend 1/168th of that time with Him (in the flesh), for our own benefit. If we can’t even be bothered with that, what does it say about a willingness to spend eternity with Him?

  3. The details about mass you have given are irrelevant to the discussion. It could be simply you and the Priest in mass. The Church doesn’t mandate handshaking. Church cliques have their own reasons and issues for existence, and have nothing to do with the commandment.

  4. You are applying logic and your own opinions to an area where none is warranted or needed. The commandments don’t contain the caveat “assuming this commandment makes sense…”

Remember, Jesus did not die on a cross so we could spend eternity with Him. He died on a corss because He wanted to spend eternity with us.

I get the gist of what you guys are saying, but I suppose I need to rephrase it a little with an example.

  1. The Super Bowl guy, with full knowledge, skips Mass (mortal sins), chokes on a Dorrito and dies. Hell awaits.

  2. A mass murderer that has killed thousands of people, raped hundreds of children, dies unrepentant, trying to kill someone but gets shot. Hell awaits.

How can I logically explain to someone both outcomes are justified? Isn’t the punishment of hell out of proportion with the first? How can I explain this reasoning to a child having doubts?

Both acts show an extreme disregard of God and his desire for our eternal happiness. Eventhough the outcome of the two choice are very disproportionate, the attitudes and reasona for both are very similar. The result is only one measure of an acts morality.

Rejecting God is rejecting God – no matter how much more flamboyantly some look in doing so.

Two wonderful posts! :clapping:

Perhaps. God knows the intentions of the heart. Everyone, from time to time, takes a special day off from attending Sunday Mass. If he could go to another Mass, say Saturday evening, he’d be golden with no need to skip Mass for a football game, not matter how special to him. In giving us multiple times to attend our Sunday obligation the Church has made it nearly impossible for the average American living within reasonable distance from a parish to miss Mass. Really, this whole scenario simply doesn’t fly.

  1. A mass murderer that has killed thousands of people, raped hundreds of children, dies unrepentant, trying to kill someone but gets shot. Hell awaits.

How can I logically explain to someone both outcomes are justified? Isn’t the punishment of hell out of proportion with the first? How can I explain this reasoning to a child having doubts?

The Scriptures tell us that there are various levels of hell/consequences for unconfessed mortal sins. The mass murderer would definitely suffer much more than someone who deliberately missed one Sunday Mass. I also think that the reason for missing Sunday Mass mitigates the punishment due. If it was done in defiance–like shaking a fist in God’s face and telling him where to go, as opposed to simply wanting to see a once a year game, I think God would understand the difference, even if it’s not the right thing to do. All sins have eternal consequences because God is eternal. To him all times are now, not buried away in time. If we know the consequences of our actions we are responsible for our actions. That’s what we should tell a child.

I’ll continue this grade analogy. Let’s say we have 4 people in a class.

  1. He never shows up, actually forgets about the class, and gets close to a 0%. Very definitely an F
  2. He went to the class… But never paid attention, didn’t get help when he started failing, and managed to scrape up a 50%, but he still got an F
  3. He went to class, but didn’t do so well. So he got help, and wound up with an 75%, actually. B
  4. Went to class, paid attention, actually helped other people through the class. No one’s surprised he did insanely well. 98%, A+ :thumbsup:

Well… Those grades aren’t entirely accurate. It’s actually Pass/Fail, with 70% as a cutoff. Persons #1 and #2 both failed the class, although #2 did significantly better. Similarly, Persons #3 and #4 both passed the class, although #4 did significantly better.

Now let’s relate that to religion.

  1. That mass murderer
  2. Tries to live a good life, but messes up a lot. Doesn’t ask God for forgiveness.
  3. Tries to live a good life, but messes up. Thankfully, though, he got help and pulled his life together.
  4. Lives a good life, but messes up because we all sin. But, overall, he did a great job listening to and obeying God.

I’m just curious what most people consider as the line between “able to” and “unable to” when it comes to attendance.

If I’m camping at a state park, and the nearest church is an hour away, am I expected to make a 2-hour round trip to be there?

What if it’s only half an hour away? What if it’s 3?

My boyfriend is of the opinion that if you get married at 2 p.m. on a Saturday (or attend such a wedding)-- even with a full Mass – you still have to get up the next morning (exhausted, possibly a tiny bit hung over after the reception) and head to church. (But if you go to a non-wedding Mass at 4 p.m. on any other Saturday, sleep in as long as you like.)

If I have a cold, and I’m well enough that I feel up to going but I’m sneezing a lot, am I required to go “because I’m able” and get everyone else sick in the process?

These are the things that keep me up at night… :stuck_out_tongue:

There is no hard and fast rule. We are asked to use prudential judgment in such cases. I’ve been camping too in a location too far away to go to Mass. If it’s too far/difficult for you to get to Mass, there is no obligation to attend.

My boyfriend is of the opinion that if you get married at 2 p.m. on a Saturday (or attend such a wedding)-- even with a full Mass – you still have to get up the next morning (exhausted, possibly a tiny bit hung over after the reception) and head to church. (But if you go to a non-wedding Mass at 4 p.m. on any other Saturday, sleep in as long as you like.)

If I have a cold, and I’m well enough that I feel up to going but I’m sneezing a lot, am I required to go “because I’m able” and get everyone else sick in the process?

These are the things that keep me up at night… :stuck_out_tongue:

You can always ask your pastor for a dispensation under such circumstances. If you are sick, you again have no obligation to attend Mass. We have to use our common sense as well as our brains. :wink:

Because he has a debt to God that he has not paid.

Those who die in debt to God cannot go to Heaven without first paying the debt. A dead person cannot pay the debt.

We owe God worship, because He created us and sustains our lives. That is a matter of justice.

Since it is the creditor (the person to whom the debt is owed) who decides how the debt is to be paid, and not the person who is in debt, it is God’s choice and not ours how we are to render worship to God.

Jesus (God Incarnate) gave us the Mass. He said, “Do this, in remembrance of Me.”

He gave its administration to Peter and the Apostles, and it was they who established weekly Sunday Mass, in honor of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Using the same authority given to them by Jesus, they also transferred the obligation to rest on one day in seven (Sabbath) to the same day, again in honor of Christ’s Resurrection.

They called it “Eucharist” (meaning “Thanksgiving”) in order to remind us to be thankful for what Jesus did for us on the Cross, and for opening the doors of Heaven in His humanity, so that we human beings could also go into Heaven.

This authority was given to the Church, and the Church, ever mindful of its duty to do all things in right order, requires that we discharge our debt of worship to God once a week on Sundays, unless there is a serious reason why we can’t do so.

This is a minimum, and does not prevent us from attending Mass and worshipping God more frequently than that, if we choose to freely go above and beyond the set minimum standard.

Excellent. :thumbsup:

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