[quote=Roz]. I would also like to go on Sundays because I want to, but feel the imposed obligation takes away from this.
I’m sorry, but I really don’t understand this. Do you have a problem with authority in general?
[quote=Roz]. It is very true that if we really understood the Eucharist we would want to be at Mass as often as possible. Why then do we need to be obliged to go?
Because we have a fallen human nature. Sure, it would be great if every single day, every single minute, we advanced in holiness and did not regress. But we do, and for those times it is good to have a “duty” to do the right thing even if we don’t “feel” like doing it. I know without a shred of doubt that if the Church were to make Mass attendance optional (and I’m not even sure she has that authority), then people would suddenly find more and more reasons for not attending, and would feel less and less like ever going, and would regress even further than a minimalist faith permits. Just look what happened when the Church decreed that we do not have to abstain from meat on Fridays: it didn’t result solely in Catholics eating meat while observing some other penance, but resulted in the erosion of Catholics doing ANY kind of Friday observance. It’s not just about “feelings”, it’s about what is objectively due God.
[quote=Roz].Would it not be better to have a Mass attended gladly by those who want to be there?
Sure, it would be great if everyone at every Mass was always happy to be there. That’s not the measure, however, of whether or not they should go. You are perhaps missing the objective requirement for public worship (3rd Commandment, bolstered by Hebrews 10:25—what part of “we should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some” is unclear?). You are too concerned with subjective, volatile feelings. Habits of virtue are never formed by simply using our feelings as a guide for what and what not to do.
[quote=Roz].Does the Church need those who would ‘sluff off’ without the obligation?
Yes, because the Church is trying to save souls. It’s not a question of the Church “needing” them but rather them needing the Church. Someone who is not “in the mood” to go to Church is far more likely to receive the cure for that spiritual sickness at Mass than outside the doors of the Church.
[quote=Roz].As regards the analogy with the child being made to eat his vegetables until he is mature enough to realise that they are good for him, - the child is not ( or I hope not!) being told that not eating up his veg is a mortal sin
My point in the analogy is that it is objectively healthy to eat vegetables, and objectively unhealthy to eat nothing but desserts. If a parent loved a child, would they let that child do whatever he wanted in regards to food? Eat whatever they want (and let’s face it, that means dessert), whenever they want, because they feel like it? It would be a false love that would let a child harm himself before that child matures. And a person who rebels against legitimate Church authority is not, in my opinion, spiritually mature, and so the Church wisely has guidelines.