Friend says he's happier not going to Mass


A friend of mine shared with me that he hasn’t been to Mass in years. he’s pretty much lost his faith and says ever since being removed from the culture of guilt and shame he’s so much happier. What would you say to someone who told you that? Obviously just saying “Well, you need to go to Mass” would not do the trick.


You can’t argue with his feelings. You can’t tell him it’s wrong to feel the way he does. But you can express your feelings as well. Do you like going to Mass? Why? Perhaps that’s something you can share. Keep it personal not doctrinal.


Your friend likely is under the modern delusion that happiness is the main thing to strive for in life. Happiness is not the end all be all.


Firstly, it is important to note that this is a gradual process. There is not any one formula that you can use to convince him to go. Firstly, you must try to understand why that is, which as you said,

This means that he thinks that whatever your religion, is trying to control him. You could try and ask him to explain in more detail, though even then, you should probably wait a couple days, or even weeks, or ask slowly overtime, as if you just go all out, you will come across as desperate and seem to be a brainwashed theist. But keep in mind that he probably has personal reasons as to why he doesn’t go to mass. You should encourage him to come to Mass, though do it gradually, or you will end up being rejected.

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope I helped.


So, if he were doing something harmful to himself (let’s say, doing drugs) and people were making him feel guilty and shameful for harming his health, and then he stayed away from them… he’d feel “happier”, but would that mean that he’s no longer harming himself? :thinking:


I haven’t been able to go to Mass in months, due to a terrible accident. How I miss going. Can’t wait to go again!


Now that he’s told you why he’s happier being away from Mass, tell him why you’re happier going to Mass.


We are not guaranteed happiness. We have an assurance of joy. Joy and happiness are not the same thing.


I think this is an important bit. Do you know what he feels guilty for, or ashamed of? Is it actually valid?

There’s going to be a different approach depending on the answers there. It’s a difference between someone feeling ashamed because of some sin they haven’t repented of, and someone who just feels an unfounded or improperly founded sense of shame.


Sounds like he was scrupulous when he was a believer. Tell him that that is not a healthy and balanced way of living your spiritual life and that the Church doesn’t teach it. Instead, focus on the Divine Mercy and the fact that we all sin but can repent, without living in constant shame.
Also tell him that the Truth doesn’t changes if he feels more confortable or not, he believed then, he couldn’t stop believing because he felt guilty


I use to attend Mass quite a bit, sometimes daily. But now I go maybe four or five times a year (like when I have to see somebody who I know will be at Mass). I know I feel a lot better since cutting back. It’ feels good to move on to enrich and deepen my life experiences in other ways. And when I do go, I prefer weekday Masses—shorter and quieter with more time to think by myself.


In my experience when people say they are happier when they feel ‘free’ to do what they want in the world it usually means going down a bad path. It is an illusion of happiness, but not true inner peace or joy.


Simply pray for that person and show them the joy of belief.


Here’s what I would suggest. In a helpful, loving dialogue, try and dig at what he thinks is “controlling.” After you identify specifics, offer some helpful ideas at how he has a warped view, or that the restrictions in place are for his own benefit.

An elementary example would be a kid who’s parent restricts their consumption of soda, while the child has a friend who is allowed free access. A child is not able to understand that the restriction is actually a good thing in the long hall; the kid wants instant gratification (and lots of soda! :slight_smile: ) Over time, adverse health effects will occur for the friend, while the first child will enjoy overall better health.

But, of course, the child would never know that from the start. Given the choice, he would have taken the soda. The same is true for all other “rules” the Church has; they exist to protect you & set you free from your sinful impulses, and once you recognize that the choice not to give into those impulses is what freedom really is, you’ll be set free ! :slight_smile:


Tell him ours can’t be the generation that breaks with the faith. It’s as if people today don’t realize they are extensions of their ancestors before them. Are we to believe they lived and worshiped in vain?


I am glad you still go to mass sometimes. The mass experience is complicated and in my opinion different for everyone. First, at mass we worship the Trinity! The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Right there that is awesome. The mass is not to make us fell good but to worship Almighty God. The God who created all things with his word! Awesome! The mass is both a sacrifice and a banquet. It is not a reinactment but the actual last supper and crucifician made present in an unbloody way. Christ does not die again but since He is God His sacrifice is forever. Think about all that and you will spend a lifetime trying to get your mind around it.


What if he would not do anything self-harming, and realizing that leads to a much more fulfilling life - here and now!? (Normal sexual practicing would come under this rubric, which is not just harmless, but actually beneficial to the practitioners - even though it is declared to be “mortally sinful” by some believers.) On the other hand if he were knowingly practicing something that is harmful to his health (smoking or taking other drugs) but considering that it is worth it? “Whose life is it anyway”???

When shall people realize that giving a friendly, but unsolicited advice - ONCE!!! - is acceptable, but nagging is not. Not even when it is done with the best intentions. When shall people realize that the OTHER party is a grown-up adult, who is “entitled” make his own mistakes?

Cain was right: “We are not our brothers’ keepers!” Let’s trust others to be aware what is best for them. Don’t be a “Big Brother” watching others. After all you don’t want others to it unto you - as the Golden rule stipulates.


I know Catholics here might not want to hear this…but maybe if you could direct him to an Evangelical church…he may feel more comfortable there…and it just may rekindle his faith at some point and return to his Catholic faith…I say this because of his feelings of guilt and shame…Evangelicals don’t have mortal and venial sin…they don’t have to confess to a priest…they don’t believe if they miss church they are commiting a mortal sin…if they don’t go to confession…that they may be committing a mortal sin if they take the Eucharist and feel guilty of being unworthy…they believe that if a person sins then they go directly to God…and if they are contrite then God remembers that sin no more…so in that regard they don’t have that feeling of guilt and shame as some Catholics experience…now…before I get jumped on…I’m not advocating abandoning the Catholic faith…it seems he has already done that…I’m looking at a way he might at least rekindle his faith in God…and that just maybe that might eventually lead him back to the Catholic church


Basically this. If God is God then what we’re really living for is to serve him, not ourselves! Why does your friend feel so guilty at mass, anyway? I know that a large portion of Catholics always seem to talk about how “guilty” their religion is, but I’ve been to mass and I don’t feel guilty there. Okay, so we kneel and bow before our Lord…that’s called worship…there’s no guilt involved. I find it to be a very nice experience, I actually really enjoy it. Whether one enjoys it or not is pretty irrelevant anyway, for the aforementioned reasons…but maybe your friend could learn to find joy in it. Maybe they just need to look at it differently…like I say it’s not guilt, it’s Christian worship, it’s prayer, and it’s thanksgiving!


depends why he thinks he should feel guilty. is someone unnecessarily shaming him? or does he just want to live a sinful carefree lifestyle and do htings that the church says we shouldn’t do?

it would warrant a deeper conversation, I think

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