Miss Mass = Mortal Sin?


#1

I understand the CIC requirement for attending Mass on Holy Days of Obligation (all Sundays, etc.) or on the evening preceeding the Holy Day of Obligation.

However, it would seem to me that the CIC pertains primarily to matters of discipline and not exclusively to matters of Faith or Morals. Furthermore, it would seem to me that matters of discipline are not necessarily subject to be listed under the gravity of sinfulness as a matter pertaining to the violation of a matter of Faith or Morals.

For example, the consumption of meat was generally forbidden at one point, but later that prohibition was lifted. It would appear that a person who ate meat the week prior to the change in law but died prior to the effective date of the new law could be in Hell for the mortal sin, however another person performing the same act the week after the new law would not be guilty of any sin, not even a venial for the same act. I know this is a poor example, but I hope you will understand the direction of thought.

This matter disturbs me greatly for a number of reasons. It appears to demonstrate inconsistency with regard to the handling of matters pertaining to sin.

I have considered the matter from another angle but it has not provided the relief I had hoped for so I remain in doubt to this matter. This alternative view is that the subject matter is not the matter of sin, but rather the action of defiance to obedience to the authority of the Church. I think I can understand this, to a point, but I feel that something is missing.

I apologize in advance for this issue because I know it MUST be clear but I just can’t see it for some reason. I will appreciate any clarification on this matter. I do understand it may simply be a matter of “because the Church declared it, so it is”. If this is the case, what is the authoritative citation backing up the authority to impose such a severe penalty on a disciplinary matter? I’m sure it exists in the Fathers and CIC, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin a search on that. My guess is someone here has already addressed this one and knows.

I look forward to a response.

Jim


#2

Briefly, I would say the gravity deals with the 4th Commandment to honor the Sabbath which the Church honors on Sunday in connection with Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. One of the ways we are to honor the day of rest is by participating in the Mass as the Jews celebrate the Shabbat ritual. Thanks and God Bless.


#3

Authoritative Church
Mt 28:18-20 - Jesus delegates all power to Apostles
Jn 20:23 - power to forgive sin
1Cor 11:23-24 - power to offer sacrifice (Eucharist)
Lk 10:16 - power to speak with Christ’s voice
Mt 18:18 - power to legislate
Mt 18:17 - power to discipline

I think you’ve mostly got it. Christ gave his church the authority to discipline, among other authorities. Discipline by its very nature involves prudential judgement on the part of those in authority. It is fine to question the judgement of those in authority as long as one does not deny that authority. At least part of the sin involved is regarding disobedience to legitimate authority.

The Church rightly engages her authority to reminds us that love and worship of God needs to be the center of our lives as indicated in “The Greatest Commandment”, from which all other divine law flows. This is certainly a matter of the utmost concern. Discipline being involved does not lessen the grave sin of neglecting the honor and love due to God.

related info…
CCC:
2035 The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed.[77]

2036 The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the natural law, because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation. In recalling the prescriptions of the natural law, the Magisterium of the Church exercises an essential part of its prophetic office of proclaiming to men what they truly are and reminding them of what they should be before God.[78]

2037 The law of God entrusted to the Church is taught to the faithful as the way of life and truth. The faithful therefore have the right to be instructed in the divine saving precepts that purify judgment and, with grace, heal wounded human reason.[79] They have the duty of observing the constitutions and decrees conveyed by the legitimate authority of the Church. **Even if they concern disciplinary matters, these determinations call for docility in charity. **

again from the CCC:

**The Sunday obligation **

**2180 **The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass."117 "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."118

**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.

**2182 **Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. **2183 **"If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families."120


#4

Wow…

Defide, you know you are in DEEP kimchi when Karl finds your responses… In fact, I expect the CA SWAT team to abduct you and lock you in a cubicle in San Diego anytime now… In fact, continue like this and you may also have to be on CA Live once a week!

Seriously, thank you very much for your post. I feel kind of stupid because normally I would think of looking in the CCC first, but for whatever reason, I have forgotten to refer to it constantly in all matters. Hopefully others will learn from my humiliation and remember to look in the CCC which was designed specifically to answer questions such as mine. :slight_smile:

I wish you the best and thank you again.

Jim


#5

[quote=jbmccormick]Wow…

Defide, you know you are in DEEP kimchi when Karl finds your responses… In fact, I expect the CA SWAT team to abduct you and lock you in a cubicle in San Diego anytime now… In fact, continue like this and you may also have to be on CA Live once a week!

Seriously, thank you very much for your post. I feel kind of stupid because normally I would think of looking in the CCC first, but for whatever reason, I have forgotten to refer to it constantly in all matters. Hopefully others will learn from my humiliation and remember to look in the CCC which was designed specifically to answer questions such as mine. :slight_smile:

I wish you the best and thank you again.

Jim
[/quote]

I’m glad I could help, but in reality nearly all of my writing is taken from sources outside my puny brain.:wink:


#6

I don’t understand why this is even an issue.


#7

***“Sins that violate the human or the natural law are also included [among sins that may possibly be mortal], for what is contrary to the human or natural law is also contrary to the Divine law, in as much as every just human law is derived from the Divine law, and is not just unless it is in conformity with the Divine law.***” (Catholic Encyclopedia - Sin).

See more here:

**Is missing Mass on Sunday a mortal sin? **- View


#8

Here’s where I got answers to this, and I don’t miss Mass.
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=45788
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=22511
Pax tecum,


#9

I agree that missing mass without just cause is a sin. But not all violations of the 10 commandments are grave matters. Further, the Church regards only Catholics to be bound by the Sunday obligation. The severity of the violation is a matter of Canon law rather than morality. If this were not so, then it would be a grave matter for all Christians.

The binding authority of Canon law upon Catholics, as I understand, is based upon a broad interpretation of the Church’s ability to bind and loose. (Matt. 16:19) The cross reference for this text is John 20:23. The Orthodox understand these passages to establish the sacrament of reconciliation (as the Catholic Church does). But the Orthodox do not also interpret this as establishing the ability for the Church to arbitrarily heighten the severity of sins or create new rules with penalties of mortal sin. I find myself in agreement with the Orthodox on this matter.

Does this threaten the Church’s infallibility? I don’t think it does. As long as the Church does not declare a sinful thing to be unsinful, it has not contradicted God’s promise that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. In other words, the Church cannot err with the result that someone will be misled and go to hell because of the error. But this does not preclude the possibility that the Church could erroneously declare something to be grave matter when it is only actually venial. The Church would like people to believe that violations of Canon law are actually violations against Christ, but in some cases, I just don’t see that.


#10

Jn addition to the power of the keys, Jesus has said of the apostles and their sucessors,“He who hears you hears me.” When the Church speaks Jesus speaks. In the Church’s prudential judgement some disciplines are considered of grave importance. Being a matter of judgement some of these disciplines can change when they are no longer considered to serve their purpose. Meatless Fridays were mandated for years. It than became the judgement of the Church that there were other forms of mortification and penance that were equally effective, so now one has a choice but the gravity of doing some form of penance has not been abrogated. Many just tend to blithely ignore the obligation. :thumbsup:


#11

The severity of the violation is a matter of Canon law rather than morality.

I disagree.

It is immoral to deliberately violate the law as promolgated by authentic authority, civil or ecclesiastical, so long as that law is in accord with higher authority. If you do so with malice of God’s will, it is a grave sin. If you commit grave sin with full advertence and perfect consent, it is a mortal sin.

Some sins, even if contempt is absent, are still grave sins.

Thus Innocent XI condemned the erroneous proposition that “the precept of keeping feast days is not obligatory under pain of mortal sin … if contempt is absent.” (Decree of the Holy Office, March 4, 1679, Enchiridion Symbolorum, 13th edition,Denzinger 1202)

What you propose seems to be this same erroneous proposition, which was already condemned centuries ago by the Church as an error in moral doctrine. It was in error then, and is in error now, not simply because of canon law, but because it is contrary to Catholic moral doctrine as taught everywhere always and by all for the past 2000 years.

John Paul II:

The Sabbath precept, which in the first Covenant prepares for the Sunday of the new and eternal Covenant, is therefore rooted in the depths of God’s plan. This is why, unlike many other precepts, it is set not within the context of strictly cultic stipulations but within the Decalogue, the “ten words” which represent the very pillars of the moral life inscribed on the human heart.

… the Church declare[s] that they consider it not just a matter of community religious discipline but a defining and indelible expression of our relationship with God, announced and expounded by biblical revelation. This is the perspective within which Christians need to rediscover this precept today.
(Dies Domini, John Paul II, 5 July 1998 - Apostolic Letter)

The present Code merely reiterates the moral doctrine of the Church concerning the grave obligation of celebrating the Sacred Liturgy on obligatory feast days…

The present Code reiterates this, saying that “on Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to attend Mass”.(82) This legislation has normally been understood as entailing a grave obligation: this is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (ibid.)


#12

Think of it this way …

Jesus, the Lord of Lords, is calling you to dine together at a magnificent and miraculous supper. You’d rather not due to nothing more than the sin of sloth. Don’t you think such a deliberate refusal of God’s will is a grave matter?


#13

First, I want to thank everybody for their responses to this matter. It turns out my suspicians that this matter was previously addressed was confirmed by Church Militant. I really have to do better on my searches and perhaps this could have been answered already. Still, the many very excellent responses are greatly appreciated.

In addition to the CCC references, I really loved the use of Tradition in the Fathers.

I can’t help but wonder if anybody else finds it fascinating that there is perhaps nothing that can’t be answered through Tradition. I have also learned one thing above most others, it takes a tremendous amount of faith to be protestant. I guess I just don’t have that much faith in man made religions.

Thanks again to all and God bless all of you.

Jim

P.S. Someone asked why this is even an issue. This is a fair question but when a person looks for the authority behind an authority, it is very important. For example, it is not enough to accept something that the Bible says just because it is in there, unless a person understands the source of its authority. Yes it is God, but how do we know which is the correct bible, etc. That authority comes from the Church who got its authority from God. I love the CA tract on that matter.

For the record, I accept the Church’s authority on all matters pertaining to Faith and Morals as absolute and I also respect the Church’s opinions on matters outside of Faith and Morals (such as scientific, who will win the Super Bowl, etc.). It is because that authority is so important to me that I will often seek the reasons for some positions. I just wish others would do the same. The concept of protestantism would quickly become extinct.


#14

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