Missed Mass with Circumstances; PLEASE give opinion? Mortal or Venial?


To make this short and sweet I will give you the pertinent details and not belay the purpose of this post from coming to fruition. My mother died when I was a teen. She had a best friend. I have not seen her best friend in about 20 years because we had lost contact. Through the miracle that is Facebook we found one another and arranged to have tea. I spent all morning cleaning my house and overhauling everything as we have a toddler and everything is coated in crumbs…toddlers :shrug::eek: I mean we cleaned for hours straight sweating…We were a bit overdue for a deep cleaning. You know what they say, “If you want a clean house, invite someone important over to your house!”
My mom’s friend comes to my house arriving after driving halfway across the country to see my family and I. and we talk for hours whilst sharing stories of her life followed by stories about the events leading up to her untimely and sad death, and we caught up on the lost time which had been hard on my mother’s friend.
I had planned to attend mass in the evening allowing me to prepare for her visit and to visit, so with 1 hour before mass, the day having left me utterly frazzled and exhausted yet contented having made peace with some of my past, I laid down and told my husband to wake me with enough time to make it to mass. When my husband came to wake me I had fallen into such a deep, restorative sleep it was as if I just could not get up (needless to say I was WIDE AWAKE the whole night before thinking about the meeting)…perhaps it was the evil one whispering in my ear it was okay to sleep…who knows? I’ve now woken up and am reflecting on the gravity of my decision. I knew of my penchant for not being able to rouse from a nap, but I laid down anyhow. I feel awful, as I know God gave me the gift of contact with my mom’s former friend to give me a glimpse of my mother who’s unexpected and terrible death effects me to this day. I received peace from the reuniting, and I repay Him by missing mass. I’m a proper flake. Am I in mortal sin? What say you of the situation? Is it even worth praying because if I AM in mortal sin, am I not cut off from God :confused: ? Thank you kindly.


Please, anyone. I need some rest in my mind with knowledge.


To answer your question about praying in a state of mortal sin, I think this will help. forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=787962

Also, can you go to confession later this week? Unless you suffer from scrupulosity, I think it would be a good idea to go. Plus, you can bring this up with the priest.

I’ll pray for you tonight.


Since it is difficult to determine your culpability due to the complicated circumstances (venial or mortal), simply go to confession as soon as possible and explain things to your priest and ask for his advice. God can forgive any sin in a sincere confession, even mortal ones! :gopray2:


Don’t take my thoughts as the Gospel :stuck_out_tongue: but i would say this: You showed that even if the event was important, you didn’t place it before or higher than the Mass. So your intention was good.
I must say also that i would have not cleaned the house so deep that i couldn’t go to the Mass, but that’s me. I prefer a little scandal if any for the Lord, then not attending the Eucharist when I can.
Still i can’t say thin is a grave sin. I don’t see the intention of not going here :slight_smile: So if it is a sin, it came out of weekness, thus not mortal. But to make sure, go to confession and you’ll probably get not only understanding but encouragement (does it spell like this in english? :D) and new hope for you.
So next time go to the Mass whatever it takes i would say. But no worries on the gravity of it. Can you attend the Mass during the week? Perhaps look for a form of repentence.
I will pray for you, in all my nothingness but still :smiley:


Hi NurseAmelia,

First of all, I am sorry you lost your mom as a teenager. That must be very difficult and I understand how it can affect you throughout your life. My wife lost her mom when she was a young teen and it still affects her deeply.

Sometimes I think determining whether a sin is mortal or venial isn’t very clear to us. (At least not to me). The three conditions for a sin to be mortal are: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. You didn’t go to bed with the intention of missing Mass. You went to bed to try to get some rest before going to Mass. It sounds like you were overtired (probably physically as well as emotionally and mentally). Those could be factors that lessen culpability with regards to the deliberate consent part. But I’m not sure. I can only say “I don’t know” if that was a mortal sin or not.

But I do know this much. It is always worth praying to God. Always…always, always, always. If God didn’t listen to sinners He wouldn’t be listening to anybody. Mortal sins do cut us off from Him but prayers of repentance are what help bring us back to Him. Mortal sins only keep us away from Him if we remain stubborn and refuse to repent. You sound remorseful in your post so just talk to Him. Be honest and explain it all to Him even though He already knows it and you can even say something like, “I’m not sure if it was a mortal sin or not but either way I am sorry”, etc. Basically, make a confession to Him and you can even include an Act of Contrition and include a resolution to go to sacramental confession as soon as possible. Then talk to the priest about it and rejoice in the sacrament.


Mortal sin has three essential elements. Think of it like a three legged stool. If one of the legs is missing it falls over, i.e., it’s not a mortal sin.

  1. It must be a grave matter. Missing mass is a grave matter.

  2. You must know it is a grave matter. Yes, you knew.

  3. Knowing it is grave, you must deliberately and freely do it anyway. You were sound asleep, having made provisions for someone to wake you, but when the moment came he could not rouse you from sleep. That’s hardly a free or a deliberate decision.

Conclusion: you did not commit a mortal sin.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.


I’m starting to drive myself crazy saying maybe I never really meant to go when I laid down - maybe I knew I would be unrousable, and I only told myself I was going to get back up as a lie to myself? I need to go to sleep. Today has been an emotional roller coaster and this isn’t a helpful icing. The evil one seeks to deceive, and I cannot be deceived about God wanting me to repent. I shall repent. I need to pray and accept your prayers and get to confession. I thank you all for your unique insights and thoughtful opinions.

May God bless you and protect you and may his peace be with you always.


I hope your priest will give you good advice. My priest is pretty strict with me, but when I have missed Mass a couple of times due to going to Mass in a different place, he lets me know how to manage better next time, like telling me I need to order my priorities. { ETA: he seems to think that since I tried, I did not sin mortally, but that it is important to work on getting there to avoid getting into a bad habit which could lead to mortal sin.}

Your priorities seem good: you had planned to go to Mass and left time in your schedule and asked your husband to wake you… maybe you secretly had a subconscious thought but seriously… we can’t be responsible for our subconscious thoughts! We can only do our best with our conscious thoughts!

So I would suggest going to Confession this week or Saturday, but pray an act of contrition and keep on praying!!! Never neglect prayer–if you are concerned about their not being effective in fear that you are in a state of mortal sin, then, until you can get to Confession, pray the act of contrition, explain all this to God, and He will judge you perfectly, then pray as much as you want!


No mortal sin, venial at worst, and maybe not even venial.

If it bothers you, receive the graces from the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but venial sin does not require the sacrament, it is absolved through the Mass, reading scripture, and many other acts.

Be at peace.


Thank you all for your timely responses that were well thought out and kind. I wanted to let you all know that I went to confession this morning and mass this afternoon :thumbsup:


Sometimes I think we make more over missing mass than we need to. There is one thing to be lazy and say the heck with it, there is another to recognize the fact that we are human and there are times when its ok to miss mass in circumstances such as yours. It seems as if you were very hurt from your mother’s untimely death and by your mother’s friend coming to visit, you were able to find some peace with. God loves you and he understands. He is the one that sent this friend to speak with you and if at the end of the visit you were so emotionally exhausted that you missed mass, he understands. Life has its times which emotionally exhausts us. When this happens, it is important to recognize the signs and staying home to sleep is the safest thing for you to do. Afterall, you would hate to fall asleep at the wheel and potentially cause an accident that would result in the death of yourself and/or others.

During your visit with your friend, you were worshiping God by speaking together, learning from each other and finding peace from the past. God wants to heal your heart and he has various methods of healing that troubled heart. Sometimes it occurs during mass and others it is by spending time with long lost friends. If it turns out that this special time conflicts with mass, then let it because there will always be a mass somewhere you can attend but spending time with friends especially those who live so far away, that is rare.

If you continue to feel terrible, you can always bring it to confession.

I hope your are feeling better.

Sending you lots of hugs,



There’s a lot of good advice here, but one thing I would say is make sure you control events in your life and not the other way around, When it comes to Sunday Mass or Holydays, I plan what might happen around them. When I go out of town I make sure I find a church ahead of time close by, and allow enough time to find it if necessary. Also, go to confession. Why worry about it when you can do something about it and please keep praying!! :signofcross:


I’m so very glad that you had such a good visit with your mom’s best friend; it’s like having a piece of her back with you. <3

That is a good piece of advice, worth repeating. Make sure you plan your events around God and Mass. There hasn’t ever been a Mass I’m sorry I went to, but there are many I’ve regretted not attending. Things do happen, of course…illness, travel, other things that are unforeseen; but we should make every effort to attend Mass. Is it a sin if I plan to attend Mass at 7 PM on Sunday evening, but something happens (car trouble, illness, etc) but miss it? No. Is it a sin if I plan to go to Saturday evening Mass, and relax all day Sunday, but become sick, have car trouble and cannot make it, but then skip Masses on Sunday? For me? Yes. Plus, living in the metro area with hundreds of Masses around me, I have little excuse in my situation personally to miss Mass, other than illness.

Actually, we do need to make a big deal out of missing Mass, and this is coming from someone who has missed Mass a few times over the past year and a half, a fact I’m not proud of. Perhaps I was not feeling well, or a little tired, but I could have, and should have, went to Mass. No matter how great a situation is, nothing is greater than meeting our Sunday obligation; oh, what little He asks of us! This visit, or any other, was not the same as worshipping God, praising God, in Mass. What a great event, what a great moment, this visit must have been for her, and understandably so! I’m not saying we should beat ourselves up over and over, and hate ourselves, for missing Mass; but we must understand the importance of it. It’s defined as a sin, a mortal sin, by the Church, and if we are Catholic, we must obey the laws and rules set forth by Her.

And something good to know is this: whether we ‘feel’ remorseful, terrible, happy, or sad, if we have sinned, according to the laws of God and the Church, we must confess, whether we ‘feel’ terrible or not. We have to learn that our Faith, our Worship of God, and our relationship with Him, is more than ‘feeling’. If we rely on ‘feeling’, then the times when we don’t **feel **joyful or happy about our relationship with God will be difficult. And the devil will also use our ‘feelings’, so that when we ‘feel’ dejected, sad, pained, we must think that our Faith relationship is either not real, or not needed.


I can’t see anything in the OP’s post that says she slept in all of Saturday evening and the whole of Sunday. How many Masses were available that she could have attended?


She did not say it was Saturday evening, only that it was evening. I took it to mean that she planned to go to a Sunday evening mass.


If it was Saturday evening, then you should have definitely gone Sunday. If it was Sunday evening, I would talk with a priest about it. We always need to keep Mass as a priority on days of obligation and consider our actions and how they can affect our ability to make it to Mass.


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