Do non-believing teens have to attend mass?

I do not believe in God, and would describe myself as atheist. I am fifteen years old and the son of a very Catholic mom and dad. They insist on sending me to mass, but i really get nothing out of it. I have been going to mass all of my life, but still haven’t made a connection with God. Therefore, i would describe myself as an atheist because I do not believe in God.I would really prefer not to go to church, and so I am wondering if I must attend because my parents insist on sending me to mass.

Dear Confused,

Since you are still not and adult and since you are still living under the roof that your parents pay for, you indeed must go to Mass as they direct you.

You also have some thinking to do with regard to God. Do you honestly think that an automobile could come together by chance? This would mean that the metal that it is made of would have to have been mined by chance and then melted by chance and then formed into the various shapes of all the metal parts. This goes for all the various materials, including the rubber and plastic and glass. Then all these pieces would have to have come together with the screws being tightened, the upholstery being sewn and shaped. Do you really think that all this could happen by chance? Keep in mind, we have only considering an automobile. What about everything else that exists? Design has to be the result of a designer.

I used to have a cartoon on my door of two fleas walking on a dog’s back. Its’ hairs looked like tall trees. And one flea says to the other. “I don’t know—some days I really question if there is a dog.”

From one flea to another: May you recognize the love God has for you in creating you and giving you so much. May you also come to appreciate how an all powerful God could love His creatures so much that He would join them in their existence and then suffer and die for them—when He didn’t have to. The extent of such love cannot be fully grasped by the human intellect. But this is what is celebrated at Mass whether those gathered there are aware of it or not. You are in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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