Does this sin transfer to me?

Hi, I asked this in the apologist section else but it’s really bothering me and I am trying to get it answered as quickly as possible before next mass. I searched the forum but didn’t find anything related to this.


My parents don’t always go to church on Sunday. I want them to, but I don’t feel like I can argue with them to drive me over there. They insist that it is okay. My older brother told me that it’s a mortal sin to not go to church on Sunday, and that if you are under mortal sin you shouldn’t receive Eucharist.

Do I have mortal sin because I didn’t go to church? I can’t take a cab or anything, and it’s totally beyond walking distance. And I don’t want to fight with my parents…


Well, if you are young enough that you cannot go on your own given the distance, then your obligation is dispensed. But its a better idea to speak with a priest about this and open up the entire situation. I am assuming you are young and therefore cannot drive yourself or safely take public transit alone. But if you do have reasonable means to go to Church, then you are expected to go to Church.

I agree with the other poster - if you’re not old enough to get there under your own steam without your parents taking you, then it isn’t a sin for you.

Here’s a thought - do you have any other family or friends or anyone you know who goes to church who you could get a lift with those times your parents choose not to go?

There is no definite answer, except, that if you cannot go to Church due to distance, you are dispensed: God does not wants impossible things.

The problem comes: what is walking distance. When I was child we left for the 8 o’clock Mass a few minutes after 7 AM, the Church was 40 minutes walk (2 miies) away. I knew families who walked every Sunday over 5 miles to Church. For a while in my life I bicycled 6 miles every Sunday and Holy days of obligation.

A priest once said that in an old moral theology manual (for priests to use when advising layfolk) it said that if you have to ride a donkey more than 20 min to get to Mass, your obligation is dispensed because it’s an undue burden.

Obviously this varies from person to person and culture to culture, but there is such a thing as it being too difficult to get to Mass and the obligation not applying.

Cheer up – it sounds like you want to go, and you can’t. Ultimately you are the one that has to judge if it is possible for you to go (since we are not in your situation), and if it’s not possible, then you don’t sin.

I would ask your pastor if he can put in the bulletin your situation, because someone may be able to give you a ride on Sunday.

if you really cannot get to Mass, you have no obligation, therefore there is no sin. We don’t judge others, even our parents, but keep being a witness by suggesting and asking (not demanding and complaining) and never yourself refuse to go to Mass when the opportunity arises. If you have friends in your CCD or Confirmation class who live near you ask for help with transportation.

I remember growing up with a French Canadian family with lots of children where the children alternated attending Sunday Mass because they only had a few “Sunday Best” outfits and suits.

Would this be a sin?


I’m not sure that’s true. My understanding is that when you cannot go to Mass, you are still required to devote the time to study of Scripture, examination of conscience, and prayer. It’s not really enough to simply WANT to go to Mass; you need to set time aside to worship.

Granted, the guy who told me this is Gerry Matatics, who won’t attend a Novus Ordo Mass because he thinks it’s invalid, but that’s what he says he and his family have to do when they can’t find a parish they feel comfortable attending. Not saying I agree with him; just repeating what he said to me.

Is it possible someone at the church would be in a position to pick you up for Mass? Perhaps the parish office could help arrange something.

Hmm, well since you guys keep guessing what my age is I’ll mention that I’m 17, but I don’t have a car or a license available yet. Obviously when I’m able to drive I’ll go myself.

If I set something up with someone at my church my parents might get mad at me, but I suppose I can ask anyway, plus they might convince my parents why it’s wrong to not go to church.

There is a reason why the Church wouldn’t accept a minor as a convert without his parents or legal guardian. As noble and honorable the act is to come into the Church at a young age, there are several questions that arises from the moral (disobeying parents) to the criminal (may be construed as coercing a minor). Since you are a minor the Church may not be expecting much from you since you have the desire but are otherwise prevented from going to church. When you get a chance, speak with a priest about it.

Missing Mass because you do not want to go, which is a mortal sin, is very different than missing Mass because you are unable to get there, which is not a sin. When I am ill or not able to go, I will spend time praying the rosary or watching Mass on TV and making a spiritual communion.

The original poster hasn’t indicated he’s a lone convert or anything. My reading of the original post is that the whole family are Catholic, just that his parents aren’t devout weekly churchgoers, and he lacks the means of going without them.

Nor has he indicated that they’ve forbidden him to go or anything, just that they might get upset at the idea of his going with others.

It is in the Catechism: The Sunday obligation 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.

Sorry to hear about this, son. You sound like a good kid.

Call the rectory and make an appointment to speak to a priest via telephone. Tell him what you’re going through. He’ll be able to provide you with sensible, practical advice and a dispensation from your obligation, if appropriate.

It’s a good idea to have a “holy hour” if you don’t go to Mass.

Yup. It’s called “vanity”.

And the reason your parents committed that sin is probably because of the judgemental attitudes of their fellow parishioners.

Of course, vanity is only a part of it. There was also, I’m sure, a desire to please God and present him only with the best. That is definitely a good thing.

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