Is this a sin? (Missed Mass yesterday)


#1

Happy New Year, everyone!

My question pertains to the Solemnity of Mary Mass over 12/31 and 1/1. I had every intention of going to Mass yesterday and I checked Masstimes.org to confirm that my parish had a 7pm Mass on Holy Days of Obligation. Before we left, however, I checked the bulletin and discovered that this wasn't the case for New Years Day and the last Mass had already passed.

I started checking websites of several other parishes in my area, but the only time left was an 8pm Spanish Mass. Knowing this parish, it would have been 100% in Spanish and neither my fiance nor I speak it. I relunctantly decided not to attend.

This morning, though, I wondered if I should have gone anyway and only just now realized that I might have been able to follow along in the English Missilette.

My question is: does this constitute a mortal sin?


#2

You should definitely confess this.

(a) You could and should have prepared ahead of time by checking locally and not just on Masstimes.org (which has a disclaimer that the times may not be accurate).

(b) Once you discovered that you could not attend your own parish but could attend the Spanish Mass, you should have done so.


#3

I agree with 1ke. It is always a good idea to verify Mass times by phone or on the parish's direct website.

The fact that you don't speak Spanish (or whatever language the Mass is in), does not mean you do not have to attend Mass. we are obligated to attend Mass on Sundays and HDO even when travelling when we might not have any choice but Mass in the language of the country we are travelling in.

The other lesson learned is to never wait for the "last chance Mass" unless you know it is happening! ;)


#4

Hello, stantokm! So let's un-pack this a bit, since I think there are a couple of issues.

First, missing your home parish's Mass was not a sin. You had intended to go, you believed there was a 7pm Mass, but you were in error. It's an accident, or a misunderstanding, not a sin. But now you know you need to be more cautious and confirm Holy Day Mass times well ahead of time ;). So if you fail to do so next time, missing Mass as a consequence may indeed be sinful.

The more troublesome bit, I think, is the Spanish-language Mass that you could have gone to, but chose not to. I know that attending a Mass in a language you don't know isn't ideal, but it's still attending a Mass, which you are required to do on Holy Days of Obligation. So yes, you should have gone...and failing to do so was sinful.

Now, is it a mortal sin? In order for a sin to be mortal, it must be grave matter, you must have full knowledge, and must have full consent of the will. Missing Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation is grave matter, and I'm pretty sure you had full consent of the will (I assume nobody held a gun to your head and prevented you from going ;)). So the question is whether you had full knowledge that you were obligated to attend Mass, and that attending the Spanish-language Mass would have fulfilled that obligation. If yes, which I'm guessing is the case, then the sin was mortal. If no, then it was more likely venial. But only you know for certain.

Either way, I agree that you should definitely bring this to confession. Even if it's venial, which isn't strictly required to be confessed, it never hurts to bring all of your sins to the Sacrament! Go get yourself washed clean and begin anew.

And in the future, don't be afraid to drop-in on a Mass that isn't in your native language! My parish has a Vietnamese-language Mass on Thursday evenings, and sometimes I sit-in (and there are often one or two other non-Vietnamese folks sitting in too). I don't know Vietnamese, but the Mass is the same! I can follow along pretty well, even when I don't have a Missal or Missalette handy.

I find it to be a nice little reminder that we're part of a world-wide, universal faith. All Catholics, all throughout the world, are practicing the faith in basically the same way...reading the same readings, praying the same prayers, receiving the same Sacraments. I love it!

God bless.


#5

Great question stantokm,

You got some terrific answers and in addition to that I was able to learn something new by following the thread.

Thanks for posting!


#6

You don't state your location. In most dioceses of the U.S., the obligation has been removed (so there would be no sin in even intentionally not going). It is best to ask a priest about that ASAP. Since your parish didn't have the usual Holy Day times, it seems likely, however.

That said, since you think there was an obligation, you would have done best to attend any valid Mass in any language available. Remember that a scant 50 years ago, every Mass was in Latin where only the priest could understand everything and only the servers would even know all the responses. I personally have attended Mass in no less than four languages over time despite only being fluent in one of them (and suspect at least a couple more crept in at "multilingual" Masses - never mind that "Malo Malo" song).

By now, you should be familiar enough with the order of Mass to follow in any language.


#7

[quote="SonCatcher, post:6, topic:310116"]
You don't state your location. In most dioceses of the U.S., the obligation has been removed (so there would be no sin in even intentionally not going). It is best to ask a priest about that ASAP. Since your parish didn't have the usual Holy Day times, it seems likely, however.

That said, since you think there was an obligation, you would have done best to attend any valid Mass in any language available. Remember that a scant 50 years ago, every Mass was in Latin where only the priest could understand everything and only the servers would even know all the responses. I personally have attended Mass in no less than four languages over time despite only being fluent in one of them (and suspect at least a couple more crept in at "multilingual" Masses - never mind that "Malo Malo" song).

By now, you should be familiar enough with the order of Mass to follow in any language.

[/quote]

I don't think it can be said that "most dioceses of the U.S." have removed the obligation to attend Mass on the Solemnity of Mary. When the feast falls on a Saturday or Monday the obligation is abrogated, but that was not the case this year.


#8

[quote="dixieagle, post:7, topic:310116"]
I don't think it can be said that "most dioceses of the U.S." have removed the obligation to attend Mass on the Solemnity of Mary. When the feast falls on a Saturday or Monday the obligation is abrogated, but that was not the case this year.

[/quote]

What I stated was from my priest's homily at Mass that day. He said there were only about 6 dioceses in the country that retained the obligation. Why? I haven't the foggiest clue.


#9

[quote="SonCatcher, post:8, topic:310116"]
What I stated was from my priest's homily at Mass that day. He said there were only about 6 dioceses in the country that retained the obligation. Why? I haven't the foggiest clue.

[/quote]

I can assure you that this is not correct.


#10

[quote="stantokm, post:1, topic:310116"]

My question is: does this constitute a mortal sin?

[/quote]

I don't think so. I'm fairly sure a mortal sin has to have intent. Since you did not intend to skip mass that day, I don't think that qualifies; unlike me, I have skipped more masses than I can count. I'm in far worse shape than you are.


#11

Missing a holy day of obligation, from what I remember is a mortal sin. I just confessed missing it. However, I found out that for my parish it was listed as NOT a holy day of obligation in the bulletin, but in a few parish websites out of state I was looking at they all said they were holy days of obligation.


#12

[quote="dixieagle, post:7, topic:310116"]
I don't think it can be said that "most dioceses of the U.S." have removed the obligation to attend Mass on the Solemnity of Mary. When the feast falls on a Saturday or Monday the obligation is abrogated, but that was not the case this year.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#13

So, I see what you all THINK ..now, what does the Church say on this topic ?

I missed a Mass, just being a SLACKER that Sunday, so when I confessed it to a priest, he told me confessing it as a Mortal was errant thinking, and Mass missing isn't Mortal Sin, even if no good reason to of missed. I was shocked, but what am I to do, tell him he is right...or wrong ?


#14

Unfortunately, many priests are incorrect about the severity of certain sins. Fortunately, the validity of absolution is unaffected by their confusion.


#15

[quote="brb3, post:13, topic:310116"]
So, I see what you all THINK ..now, what does the Church say on this topic ?

I missed a Mass, just being a SLACKER that Sunday, so when I confessed it to a priest, he told me confessing it as a Mortal was errant thinking, and Mass missing isn't Mortal Sin, even if no good reason to of missed. I was shocked, but what am I to do, tell him he is right...or wrong ?

[/quote]

No, you don't tell him that he is right or wrong: You make your act of contrition, listen to the words of absolution, leave the confessional, and do your penance.

If you have serious doubts about advice a priest has given you, consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is now available online (via the USCCB website,) or you can buy your own soft-cover copy of it for about twenty dollars. If you're going to make a purchase, get the current adult version authorized by the Magisterium and the US bishops. It is complex to use, but will answer your questions about things like this very comprehensively.

And by the way, attendance at the Spanish language Mass (even without the benefit of a missalette with an English translation) would have satisfied the obligation to attend Mass on a holy day of obligation, just in case you find yourself in a similar situation in the future. Not infrequently, in the US, the readings, the Gospel, and the homily are delivered in both languages.


#16

We often go to Spanish Mass when our schedule does not allow us to go to the English Mass. Take your English Missal (all though the missals at Churches that have Spanish Mass, have both) You will know what is happening. What I love about the Spanish Mass is the number of children that are there.


#17

[quote="brb3, post:13, topic:310116"]
So, I see what you all THINK ..now, what does the Church say on this topic ?

I missed a Mass, just being a SLACKER that Sunday, so when I confessed it to a priest, he told me confessing it as a Mortal was errant thinking, and Mass missing isn't Mortal Sin, even if no good reason to of missed. I was shocked, but what am I to do, tell him he is right...or wrong ?

[/quote]

Catechism of the Catholic Church

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

scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c1a3.htm#II

(grave sin =mortal sin =serious sin)

--So yes the Church Teaches that missing Sunday or Holy Day Mass (without serious reason or dispensation) -- is yes a mortal sin (with the needed knowledge and consent...)

(One can of course attend the evening Mass the day prior too...)


#18

If in acting in good faith you found out at the last minute that the 7pm mass was not available, then it would not have been a mortal sin, but if there was another mass available nearby, even though it was in Spanish then it would have been a mortal sin to miss that mass. the obligation to assist at mass can be fulfilled no matter what the language or rite as long as it is a Catholic mass.


#19

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.