Late for Mass -sin?


#1

Is it a sin to be late for Mass. Venial or mortal? I was at my nieces soccer game and lost track of time (also watching grandchildren) and got to Mass at the New Testament readings. Felt bad as this was the first time I've been late since converting. Advise?
mlz


#2

Well, that's a matter of conscience, but I will point out that during the Easter season, all readings for the Mass are New Testament (except for the Psalm), because we read from Acts, Revelation, and the Gospel of John.


#3

Here's my take. If you try your best to be on time for Mass and you're late for reasons beyond your control (no parking, road construction, emergency diaper change, etc.) then I think you're in the clear.

If you are late for Mass because you intentionally don't set your alarm clock, deliberately take your time getting ready, decide to watch another five minutes of some television show, or do anything unnecessary knowing it will make you late for Mass, then I think you're in venial sin territory.

I recall another thread where this question came up and someone pointed out that the catechism does not define a particular cut-off for being late or leaving early from Sunday Mass as long as you receive Communion. So I think it's left to your own conscience.


#4

There are so many different situations that I think only God can judge that. I know in my parish there's a family who habitually arrive every. single. Sunday. a half hour late. Every Sunday. And it catches your attention when they come because there's a few of them all coming in at once. So I don't know what their situation is, but only God can judge it. :shrug: I don't know why they do that.


#5

Whether it is a sin is not for me to judge. However, I find it rude when the same people blow in at the same late time pretty much every Sunday of the year. When being late is a habit, it's a choice.


#6

[quote="Georgia, post:5, topic:324657"]
Whether it is a sin is not for me to judge. However, I find it rude when the same people blow in at the same late time pretty much every Sunday of the year. When being late is a habit, it's a choice.

[/quote]

LOL! Exactly!


#7

[quote="Georgia, post:5, topic:324657"]
Whether it is a sin is not for me to judge. However, I find it rude when the same people blow in at the same late time pretty much every Sunday of the year. When being late is a habit, it's a choice.

[/quote]

Not necessarily. Why not take a the charitable approach?

When someone is always arriving a half hour later, it's very possible that for some reason, they are unable to make the Mass at that time. My first thought is that they may not have a car, and the only transportation they can get forces them to arrive at the church a half hour late.

My second thought is a child's nap schedule. Many parents struggle to get children into a good sleep schedule, and if the child's naps mean that the family will be a half hour late for Mass, many parents don't want to take a chance on returning to the nether world of night-time awakenings, so they let the child sleep! I sure would!

Another possibility is a medical procedure that has to be done at a certain time, and forces the family's late arrival as they wait for that person undergoing the procedure. One of my very best friends is a resident of a sheltered care home for the high-functioning mentally-ill. She has to take meds on a pretty strict schedule, and the meds are handed out by nurses. Everyone at the home lines up, and the nurses deal with each resident individually. Depending on where she ends up in the line, she is sometimes late for our dinner dates (that's OK--I'm not in that big a hurry to eat!). And sometimes the nurses chat with the patients, not just for social reasons, but to assess their condition in order to let the docs know. All this takes time. And as if that isn't enough, my friend (and many others in the home) is a smoker, and she cannot put off having a cigarette at certain times. So this can also make her late.

If family is waiting for someone like this, they may be unavoidably late.

Or the most likely explanation has to do with work schedules--in this day and age in the U.S., people take a job when they can get one, and they don't question a brutal schedule or an unfair boss/supervisor who keeps calling them up and asking them to do extra work at inconvenient times. The alternative is long-term unemployment.


#8

[quote="PrayHarder, post:3, topic:324657"]
I recall another thread where this question came up and someone pointed out that the catechism does not define a particular cut-off for being late or leaving early from Sunday Mass as long as you receive Communion. So I think it's left to your own conscience.

[/quote]

I don't think this is true. Receiving communion doesn't really make up for tardiness. In fact, if it's severe enough, one is actually committing the sin of sacrilege, unless he or she plans to attend a later Mass.


#9

[quote="Cat, post:7, topic:324657"]
Not necessarily. Why not take a the charitable approach?

When someone is always arriving a half hour later, it's very possible that for some reason, they are unable to make the Mass at that time. My first thought is that they may not have a car, and the only transportation they can get forces them to arrive at the church a half hour late.

My second thought is a child's nap schedule. Many parents struggle to get children into a good sleep schedule, and if the child's naps mean that the family will be a half hour late for Mass, many parents don't want to take a chance on returning to the nether world of night-time awakenings, so they let the child sleep! I sure would!

Another possibility is a medical procedure that has to be done at a certain time, and forces the family's late arrival as they wait for that person undergoing the procedure. One of my very best friends is a resident of a sheltered care home for the high-functioning mentally-ill. She has to take meds on a pretty strict schedule, and the meds are handed out by nurses. Everyone at the home lines up, and the nurses deal with each resident individually. Depending on where she ends up in the line, she is sometimes late for our dinner dates (that's OK--I'm not in that big a hurry to eat!). And sometimes the nurses chat with the patients, not just for social reasons, but to assess their condition in order to let the docs know. All this takes time. And as if that isn't enough, my friend (and many others in the home) is a smoker, and she cannot put off having a cigarette at certain times. So this can also make her late.

If family is waiting for someone like this, they may be unavoidably late.

Or the most likely explanation has to do with work schedules--in this day and age in the U.S., people take a job when they can get one, and they don't question a brutal schedule or an unfair boss/supervisor who keeps calling them up and asking them to do extra work at inconvenient times. The alternative is long-term unemployment.

[/quote]

Okay that's a good point. I won't judge them only God knows their real situation. :)


#10

It's the very large number of people who come in well after the Mass begins. The occasional person should be expected to come in late, but that isn't the case here. It's gotten so bad that Mass starts at least five minutes late and sometimes more. There are three more English Masses following the one I attend, so it's not like the schedule precludes people coming at another time.

There are Sundays when we are surprised that major parts of the church are empty when the procession begins. It is packed by the time we sit.

No, I cannot judge, but the fact it's become a trend suggests something. Maybe there is another reason, but it suggests the possibility of a lack of reverence.


#11

[quote="mlz, post:1, topic:324657"]
Is it a sin to be late for Mass. Venial or mortal? I was at my nieces soccer game and lost track of time (also watching grandchildren) and got to Mass at the New Testament readings. Felt bad as this was the first time I've been late since converting. Advise?
mlz

[/quote]

Don't get the scruples whatever you do .

In no way have you sinned . You had no intention of being late , so stop worrying .

Don't let God become some kind of ogre who is always waiting to catch you out .

Be at peace .


#12

[quote="ProVobis, post:8, topic:324657"]
I don't think this is true. Receiving communion doesn't really make up for tardiness. In fact, if it's severe enough, one is actually committing the sin of sacrilege, unless he or she plans to attend a later Mass.

[/quote]

I may very well be wrong. But I'll ask this as it was the focus of discussion on another thread. Does the CCC define a cutoff point for arriving late to Mass or leaving early? Where and how does it define meeting your Sunday obligation? Do you have to attend 50% of the Mass? 40%? 20%?

We know that just showing up for Communion and then jetting isn't right. But the CCC is rather unspecific about the topic... or at least so I've heard. I haven't had time to go and actually look up what it says about Sunday Mass attendance requirements.


#13

I am compulsively punctual myself, with my German background, but it is important to remember that punctuality as a virtue is a very northern European concept. In the southern hemisphere, time is much more flexible. :) I can attest, it can be very hard to look outside our own cultural viewpoint, but there are many, many reasons that others can be late, even habitually.


#14

[quote="PrayHarder, post:3, topic:324657"]
I recall another thread where this question came up and someone pointed out that the catechism does not define a particular cut-off for being late or leaving early from Sunday Mass as long as you receive Communion.

[/quote]

You don't need to receive Communion. The obligation is to attend Mass.

My rule of thumb that I made up so don't take it as gospel: You fulfill your obligation by attending the Liturgy of the Eucharist. If you miss any part of it (e.g., you come in during the Our Father), intentionally or not, you should attend another Mass if there's one available. If you intentionally missed it and there isn't another Mass available, you have failed to fulfill your obligation and that would be a mortal sin. Intentionally missing other parts of the Mass would be a venial sin.


#15

[quote="PrayHarder, post:12, topic:324657"]
I may very well be wrong. But I'll ask this as it was the focus of discussion on another thread. Does the CCC define a cutoff point for arriving late to Mass or leaving early? Where and how does it define meeting your Sunday obligation? Do you have to attend 50% of the Mass? 40%? 20%?

We know that just showing up for Communion and then jetting isn't right. But the CCC is rather unspecific about the topic... or at least so I've heard. I haven't had time to go and actually look up what it says about Sunday Mass attendance requirements.

[/quote]

Here is one answer:

en.allexperts.com/q/Catholics-955/2011/1/Late-Holy-Mass.htm


#16

[quote="PrayHarder, post:3, topic:324657"]
Here's my take. If you try your best to be on time for Mass and you're late for reasons beyond your control (no parking, road construction, emergency diaper change, etc.) then I think you're in the clear.

If you are late for Mass because you intentionally don't set your alarm clock, deliberately take your time getting ready, decide to watch another five minutes of some television show, or do anything unnecessary knowing it will make you late for Mass, then I think you're in venial sin territory.

I recall another thread where this question came up and someone pointed out that the catechism does not define a particular cut-off for being late or leaving early from Sunday Mass as long as you receive Communion. So I think it's left to your own conscience.

[/quote]

You make it sound like someone** has **to receive Holy Communion. I do hope that is not your intention.


#17

[quote="babochka, post:13, topic:324657"]
I am compulsively punctual myself, with my German background, but it is important to remember that punctuality as a virtue is a very northern European concept. In the southern hemisphere, time is much more flexible. :) I can attest, it can be very hard to look outside our own cultural viewpoint, but there are many, many reasons that others can be late, even habitually.

[/quote]

Excellent point! Well worth remembering as the U.S. becomes more and more diverse.

I do think that when people move to the U.S., they should probably try really hard to adopt the European practice of punctuality if they hope to keep a paying job or be allowed to continue attending a school other than their own homeschool.

But I understand that when people first arrive in this country, they need some time to learn all these practices and become accustomed to doing them.


#18

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.