Confessing something I don't think is a sin


#1

I haven't been to mass in several years, until recently. I'd like to return to communion, but confessing that I've missed mass would be hypocritical, since I don't think it's a serious sin. But I can't have communion if I don't.

I asked an apologist but never got an answer.


#2

My understanding is that if you didn't realize something was a sin when you committed the sin, then it doesn't count against you. That being said, once you become aware of the fact that it's a mortal sin, you need to confess any instances of that sin thereafter. Although we knew were supposed to go to Mass on Sunday, when I was a kid they never explained to us that failure to fulfill our Sunday obligation was a mortal sin. At my first Confession after coming back to the Church, the priest told me not to worry about all the times I'd missed over the years, but to be sure not to miss in the future.

That being said, I'm always curious about why it is that so many people don't think violating the first three Commandments (which, being the first three, should be viewed as the most important), isn't a serious sin.


#3

I don’t want to be harsh. It is good the read that you are “returning” to The Church.

What is sin and what is not are a issue we can not decide. Whe have the ten Commandments, we have what The RCC rule as a sin, and above all, we have our heart and soul. If something makes you feel bad it is most likely a sin. I try to be as nice as I can, you can not say that xxxxx is not as sin because you don’t think it is and you don’t feel bad about it. We have an obligation to attend Sunday Mass. (Not all of us can follow that because they have to work and so on, but the obligation is there.) To not keep up to that obligation is a sin, and even if you do not consider it to be one, it still is. That you need to recognize first of all. And as long as you do not see it as a sin, your confession is worth nothing, they are only words. What I would suggest is that you make a appoinment with a priest and you talk this thru with him. I really hope all will turn out good, I really do. May God bless you.


#4

What if she has a fully informed conscience and still did not regard it as a mortal sin. Primacy of conscience


#5

Someone told me, mass was made to give opportunities for the people who wants to know God and to find there way to heaven, that’s why i think its not a sin but an opportunity and its your decision whether to take that opportunity or ignore it :thumbsup:


#6

Christ teaches and informs our consciences through the Church. If she disagrees with it then she disagrees with Him and her conscience could hardly be fully informed if such a thing happened.

As far as not attending Mass - well, imagine you ask someone who claims to be your good friend to visit you in your home just once a week for an hour. Imagine that you know they are fully able to visit you but choose not to for no good reason - never visit for years on end. Would you consider them to be a good friend? Would you be pleased with their behaviour in neglecting to visit?


#7

[quote="BebehOrion, post:5, topic:332550"]
Someone told me, mass was made to give opportunities for the people who wants to know God and to find there way to heaven, that's why i think its not a sin but an opportunity and its your decision whether to take that opportunity or ignore it :thumbsup:

[/quote]

You may not think it's a sin but the Church teaches otherwise....

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. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=805658

catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0111.html

To attend Mass is a privilege, and any faithful Catholic should want to attend Mass. Our perspective should not be, "I have got to do this"; rather, we should think, "I get to do this."


#8

[quote="Jimmygill, post:4, topic:332550"]
What if she has a fully informed conscience and still did not regard it as a mortal sin. Primacy of conscience

[/quote]

2039: "Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church."

A Catholic simply cannot claim to have a well-formed and well-informed conscience if he is ignorant of, misunderstands, or rejects outright God's law and thus commits acts that the Church considers gravely disordered.

catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7827


#9

[quote="Country_Gal, post:1, topic:332550"]
I haven't been to mass in several years, until recently. I'd like to return to communion, but confessing that I've missed mass would be hypocritical, since I don't think it's a serious sin. But I can't have communion if I don't.

I asked an apologist but never got an answer.

[/quote]

First of all, let me applaud you for your sense of honor in not going up for communion until you get this matter attended to. This speaks to how the Holy Spirit has been working in you.

In a sense I can sympathize with this because when I returned to Church several years ago my own thinking ran along similar lines. However - I did what was asked of me even though my first confession back was, frankly, rather perfunctory. However, shortly thereafter (within 2 months) I was so thoroughly convicted of my own guilt and recognized the true seriousness of my past sins that I had to hurry back to confession in order that I might do it right.

In your case...I suggest this.

You say that you do not consider it to be a serious sin...but you do recognize it as a sin...and a sin that bars you from receiving communion. Therefore go and confess this sin along with any others that you can think of. Having done this and having received absolution, go as quickly as you can and receive our Lord in the Eucharist.

Then Pray.....Then Study....Then Contemplate...on God's Love...on the two great commands...to love God above all else and love of neighbor as ourselves (Mt 22:36-40)...

and I firmly believe that within a very short time you will be convicted (as I was) of the true seriousness of your sins (whatever they have been) and you may even feel compelled as I did to return to confession with an even more perfect contrition in order to truly purge your mind and soul.

Now you might wonder why I say the above with confidence. It is because the more fully you embrace God's Love and the more you understand that this is a Love relationship, the more you will come to recognize how serious a sin it is to have not loved Him properly. How serious it was to have not hastened to receive Him as often as possible and how important it is to apologize and to amend our lives so that we may more perfectly Love Him as we move forward.

The real seriousness of the sin lies not in missing mass on Sunday (breaking a "rule") but in failing to Love God as He deserves.

May God bless you as you move forward on your journey.

Peace
James


#10

That is not the problem here, I assume, good point thogh. Got to make it a thread sometimes.

Understanding that something is wrong and seeing it as a sin is two different things. The OP have a feeling it is a sin, but don’t recognize it as such. We know it is a grave sin, mortal, indeed, I say, but the OP don’t. This is a “no win” situation. I think it is a matter between God and the OP.


#11

I had a similar thought process when I returned to the church after falling away for many years. Something in me told me it was a sin to miss Mass, however I had no sense of guilt about it, just as you say. However, I did make a confession of anything that went against Church teaching, using a reference pamphlet about how to make a good confession. I had a slow and painful awakening of my conscience over the next few months and, like another poster said, I had to return to the confessional and offer true repentance for things that I had not even considered as sins in the beginning. Follow your heart and come back home to Christ and His church, doing your best at confession (that’s really all we can do). Trust me when I say that I have never experienced such true joy as I now have until I returned to my faith. it is indeed a process that will take a lifetime. God bless you on your journey. Ask Jesus to help you and He will do it!


#12

Even if you confess this just to receive the Eucharist you have an issue if you are not planning to attend every Sunday. For the absolution to be valid there needs to be intent to not sin again.

So let’s say I go to confession and say I haven’t been to Mass for a month. During the act of contrition I say I am truly sorry for these and all my sins. Now in the back of my head I’m thinking I should be able to make it the next couple weeks since not much is going on, but after that I’ll have too see if I have anything better to do on Sundays. My absolution would potentially be invalid because I am not truly sorry for my sins or have an intent to amend my behavior.

In other words just going through the motions of confession does not automatically put someone in a state of grace. Doing so just to receive the Eucharist makes a mockery of both the sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.

My advice is to read and pray for understanding on why it is important to not miss Mass. Even if you don’t think its a big sin we shouldn’t want to commit even little sins.


#13

Well put, James. Good advice. :thumbsup:


#14

This is a very relevant post for our modern age. There are so many things which often people will not understand about the church teaching. Often today, i think, people are retarded spiritually - they do not understand the spiritual or God because they do not pray & have decided not to believe. Even those who do believe are in a constant battle to reconcile all the church teachings with the secular world. I guess, in truth, the path to God is not a straight line; rather it is a very curved and twisted scenic route in which each person has to.continually pray & question that which is not easily understood. Otherwise, i guess, the best we can do in the time being could be to ‘fake it till you make it’ etc. There are some people though, maybe through life experience or God’s grace, who humbly submit even though they dont understand - & then there are others who.dont believe they are called to be robots… But the great thing is - we have all been called!!:slight_smile: A good prayer: ‘Lord I believe in You, & please help my unbelief’:thumbsup:


#15

That’s interesting. I don’t know much about this issue dogmatically. But surely a ‘well informed’ conscience won’t misunderstand or be ignorant but what if the person still doesn’t fell they have sinned. What is ‘primacy of conscience’ then. I hear it bandied about but cannot think of an example of it


#16

Thanks for all the thoughful responses. :slight_smile:


#17

[quote="Country_Gal, post:16, topic:332550"]
Thanks for all the thoughful responses. :)

[/quote]

Hope they are of help.

Peace
James


#18

There are so many aspects to this that I think it would warrant a thread of it’s own…

One must recognize that there is an underlying assumption in this matter that goes to the heart and core of our faith - both in Christ and in His authoritative Church.
That underlying assumption is that the more properly formed one’s conscious is - the more it will conform to the teachings of the Church. Naturally the opposite of this is that where an individual cannot reconcile Church teaching with their own conscience, the fault lies with the individual rather than with Christ’s authoritative Church. After all, as Catholics we DO believe that the Church is authoritative - right??
This is why, when there is conflict, it is always best to doubt our own thinking rather than Church teaching.

Now - the beauty of the conscience clause is that it provides assurance that so long as we are acting (in so far as we are able) in truth and love toward God, our fellow man, and the teachings of the Church then God recognizes this honesty and desire to grow in Truth and Love…and where we fail or falter…He will forgive.

Of course the above is not to be construed as a license act however we wish and then claim “conscience”. Rather - it is intended to place the matter of “Rules” into it’s proper perspective.
Something we see repeated in the NT is the idea of principle trumping “rules”. The Pharisees would comment that Jesus and/or the disciples were doing this or that thing forbidden by “the law”…Jesus reply was always the same…That doing what was good and right would trump the letter of the law.
Jesus would heal on the Sabbath…the Disciples plucked grain on the Sabbath…Jesus ate with “sinners”…He refused to condemn the adulteress etc…All things that either violated or circumvented the “letter of the law”…Yet look at his replies to these things…
God desires mercy not sacrifices…
Then neither do I condemn you…
Is is lawful to do good on the sabbath?..

A properly formed Conscience is a conscience conformed to Christ who is God and God is Love (1 John 4:7-8. The great commandments are based on Love (Mt 22:36-40)…and the “New commandment” from Jesus is to “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34-35). Paul calls Love greater than either Faith or Hope (1 Cor 13:1-13).

So we should see that we must form our conscience around Love - Agape - as shown in Christ’s teaching, passion, death and resurrection. We view the teachings of the Church as a most perfect expression of this Love - with each teaching addressing some specific aspect. But it must be Love that guides our understanding and our actions…and not some blind or compulsive obedience to a set of rules…

Following rules “because I said so” is fine for a small child (physically or spiritually) but as we grow this no longer suffices. We should know why a rule exists - so that we can properly and more fully apply the principle behind the rule…

Sorry if I am blathering again…I hope something in the above is helpful.

Peace
James


#19

[quote="JRKH, post:18, topic:332550"]
There are so many aspects to this that I think it would warrant a thread of it's own....

One must recognize that there is an underlying assumption in this matter that goes to the heart and core of our faith - both in Christ and in His authoritative Church.

That underlying assumption is that the more properly formed one's conscious is - the more it will conform to the teachings of the Church. Naturally the opposite of this is that where an individual cannot reconcile Church teaching with their own conscience, the fault lies with the individual rather than with Christ's authoritative Church. After all, as Catholics we DO believe that the Church is authoritative - right??
This is why, when there is conflict, it is always best to doubt our own thinking rather than Church teaching.

Now - the beauty of the conscience clause is that it provides assurance that so long as we are acting (in so far as we are able) in truth and love toward God, our fellow man, and the teachings of the Church then God recognizes this honesty and desire to grow in Truth and Love...and where we fail or falter...He will forgive.

Of course the above is not to be construed as a license act however we wish and then claim "conscience". Rather - it is intended to place the matter of "Rules" into it's proper perspective.

Something we see repeated in the NT is the idea of principle trumping "rules". The Pharisees would comment that Jesus and/or the disciples were doing this or that thing forbidden by "the law"...Jesus reply was always the same...That doing what was good and right would trump the letter of the law.

Jesus would heal on the Sabbath...the Disciples plucked grain on the Sabbath...Jesus ate with "sinners"...He refused to condemn the adulteress etc...All things that either violated or circumvented the "letter of the law"...Yet look at his replies to these things...
God desires mercy not sacrifices...
Then neither do I condemn you...
Is is lawful to do good on the sabbath?...

A properly formed Conscience is a conscience conformed to Christ who is God and God is Love (1 John 4:7-8. The great commandments are based on Love (Mt 22:36-40)...and the "New commandment" from Jesus is to "Love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34-35). Paul calls Love greater than either Faith or Hope (1 Cor 13:1-13).

So we should see that we must form our conscience around Love - Agape - as shown in Christ's teaching, passion, death and resurrection. We view the teachings of the Church as a most perfect expression of this Love - with each teaching addressing some specific aspect. But it must be Love that guides our understanding and our actions....and not some blind or compulsive obedience to a set of rules...

Following rules "because I said so" is fine for a small child (physically or spiritually) but as we grow this no longer suffices. We should know why a rule exists - so that we can properly and more fully apply the principle behind the rule...

Sorry if I am blathering again....I hope something in the above is helpful.

Peace
James

[/quote]

Not blathering in the least. Thanks for that. It gives me loads to think about


#20

Glad to have helped.

Peace
James


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.