Mass obligation


Well, maybe what I am about to ask may sound a bit like trying to justify a sin, but all I want is to be sure how bad my sin was and maybe learn something.
The thing is: A few weeks ago, I was attending a Sunday Mass, but during the beggining of the Mass (just after the greeting from the priest) I started feeling bad and sweating very much( it was a hot day) so I decided to leave the Church for a bit to see if I could get better. I waited a bit outside and it got better but by the time I felt better the reading of the Gospel had already started. Maybe I could have gone inside and try again if I could watch the rest of the Mass, but I didn’t. As it was already Sunday night I missed Mass that Sunday. But here comes the doubts:
1)Once, by no fault of yours, you lose some part of the Mass, do you fullfill the obligation by attending the rest of it, or you are free from the obligation (in my situation, i.e. , when there are no other Masses available that Sunday)? Of course I know it’s never to much to be in church praying.
2)Regardless of the answer to my previous question, as I thought I was obligated to attend ( or at least try) the rest of the Mass, but didn’t do it because I was afraid people would keep thinking: “What’s this guy doing going in and out of the church?” , did I commit mortal sin?


If you felt sick, you did the right thing.


the only time my husband and I missed Mass was right after he had surgery, we were at Mass and then he started to feel very sick so we had to immediately leave and i had to take him home. I wouldn’t worry about it, your intention was to attend and you did. Even though you felt better and didn’t return, you could have gotten feeling sick again in returning. I would also suggest to go to a Dr and have your symptoms checked out. Sometimes if we suffer from low sugar levels, one can get those types of symptoms.


Thanks for those who answered. But now I would like if someone could give the answer to my first question, that is, regarding the general case of someone not being able to attend some part of Mass.


This depends a great deal on the reason for not being able to attend? Valid reasons, such as sickness, the care of others (like sick children), are needed to justify missing some or all of the Mass.


There are legitimate reasons for missing Mass that relieve you of the obligation to participate in Mass. Sickness (or tending to someone who is sick), dangerous weather, etc. It has to be serious and genuine, but it sounds like you were legitimately feeling sick and needed to leave.

The Church doesn’t ask you to do the impossible or the dangerous. If you are legitimately sick, get the rest you need.

Of course some of the key words are “legitimate” and “serious”. A test that I use is for sickness: Am I too sick to do any other errands/tasks, then I’m too sick to go to Mass. If I claim that I’m “sick”, but still okay enough to go to the donut shop for a coffee, then I’m not too sick to go to Mass.


It’s an understandable question, but try not to get hung up on the details.

There’s no real carefully defined rule about what percentage of time must be spent in the church vs outside the church. The problem with having carefully defined rules like that is then people either a) start to obsess over whether or not they fulfilled their obligation or b) start to “cut corners” and only attend the minimum required.

So the real way to judge it is whether or not there was a valid reason to miss mass. In your case, illness is a perfectly acceptable reason to miss mass.

Hope that helps!


People have to take babies and small children out of Mass all the time and miss parts of the Mass, yet they have fulfilled their obligation.


Sin is about doing things against our conscience. I am not sure your actual situation was. From what you tell us, since you were feeling better by the Gospel reading, you could have entered again at the beginning of the homily. I would not normally move about or entering the church during the readings in reverence to them. It would be considered a full mass for you. You may not take Communion in honoring it since you miss the readings but probably in the circumstance you had a case for mitigation.

It is considerate to be aware of what people are thinking of us especially if our action during the mass is distracting the general congregation. In your case, it was not and you were genuine thus your reason is misplaced. It is more like you are thinking about yourself and what others think of you. That is not quite right, eh?

Don’t worry. Probably being not well affect our decision and only you yourself know what you are doing. Don’t be so hard on yourself but if you think you have erred, a confession will correct it. After all God is a forgiving and merciful. The fact that you ponder on this will certainly pleases God but you also have to do the right thing and not as you have said, to justify yourself.

God bless.


It might be a good idea for you to take this problem to your confessor and discuss it with him. If you have committed a grave sin you can confess it and receive absolution.

If we are too ill to attend Mass we are legitimately excused.

In your case, it would have been fine to go back into the church for the remainder of the Mass and thus you’d have been able to fulfil your obligation.


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