Missing Mass and sinning to go?

Ok, weird situation, but I want to get some opinions.

I had intended on going to Mass at my usual parish on Sunday. I figured I would go to the 10:30 Mass (usually not up by the 8 AM). Anyway, I got up in time, but just didn’t feel like going. In other words, I was lazy. But then I felt I should go and then intended on going. So my wife asks me to go out shopping, and I go out with her.

Well, we are out and I see it’s getting close to 10. I didn’t want to annoy her by saying let’s go home so I can go to Mass (keep in mind I wasn’t too enthused about going anyway), so I just continued with her.

So around noon I get the profound theological thought about mortal sin. However, I had to work second shift (3-11pm). So not wanting to miss Mass, I called in sick to work (now while I was feeling a little under the weather, it was not severe enough that I would have normally called in for that alone). I did make it to a 5pm Mass on Sunday night.

But then I felt guilty about calling in simply to make Mass. Again, while I was a little under the weather, I probably would have normally went to work. So I really mainly called in simply to meet my Sunday obligation. Does that mean I committed a sin by calling in sick even though I would have normally went to work? I can’t help wondering if I cheated my employer by doing so (they had to pay someone overtime to work for me).

I know the primary sin that lead to all of this is acedia. I do normally attend Mass, but I am in a “dark night of the soul” (for lack of a better term). So I guess my question to all of you is:
If for whatever hypothetical reason (where you are completely at fault) you miss Mass, would you call in sick to work to attend another Mass?

I sure am not in a position to give you much advice at all because I’ve been in the same position you were in…not feeling very energetic, procrastinating going to mass but ended up not going at all!!! And oh the guilt!! It was never worth it.

What you did though, was steal from your company because you called in sick when you weren’t and they ended up having to pay someone OT to cover your shift. Perhaps what you could do to make up for it is to admit it to your boss and offer to work without pay for a day if that’s possible. Or you could go visit your priest in the confessional and ask his advice.

All the best to you. At least you have a concience. :thumbsup:

I’ve been in the situation with friends and family who aren’t Massgoers where it feels like an imposition to fulfil my obligation - but you just need to bite the bullet. God is more important.

As for the employer - well, you were sick, so you weren’t lying. You certainly shouldn’t go in to work if you have anything potentially contagious, even if you don’ t feel all that bad. You don’t want others to catch it as well, because they might get hit worse than you were.

I don’t think what you did was necessarily wrong - your boss doesn’t need to know that there were additional factors involved as well.

Its good that you did go to mass. Did you commit a sin against stealing from your boss? thats a tough one if i were you the next time i go to confession bring it up with the priest and see what he says about it. If you want my opinion i don’t think you did anything wrong.

If you are sick with anything contagious (cold, flu etc…) you are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass.


Assuming you have a weak cold, you would probobly qualify as “contagious”. That being said, if you work in food service, child care, or anyplace with a lot of contact with others the proper thing to do would be to call in sick and avoid spreading the virus to others.


Missing Mass wouldn’t have been a sin…
Calling in sick wouldn’t have been a sin…


I can’t say that you weren’t trying to lie when you called in sick. If you were, then that might be a sin.

I had something similar happen to me a few months ago.

I’m in a salary position and my paycheck looks the same whether I work 10 hours a week or 100 hours. I was on a project that had a Monday deadline and I looked up www.masstimes.org for a church in my area that had the last time for Mass on Sunday, which turned out to be 5:30. Perfect! I got to work at 6:30 a.m. and informed my co-workers and managers (who came in around noon after their church services) that I had to leave at 4:45 in order to make it to Mass. At 4:45 they said I should stay longer. I was polite, but I refused. I shut down my computer, grabbed my coat and left for Mass - wondering on the way if I would still have a job. I took my laptop with me and logged in to work from home afterward, but after such a long day I was too tired to get much more accomplished.

What was the most loving action to take in this case? Leave work for my co-workers to do or go to Mass? I talked it over with my priest and he felt what I did wasn’t wrong, but that there might have been other ways to handle it or to plan it better. Sometimes these decisions aren’t black and white. We just do the best we can. God knows our heart.

If I were lazy in the morning and didn’t make mass a priority, knowing I had to work later in the afternoon, I would NOT call in sick unless I really felt sick, and you admited you mostly called in to go to mass. I think doing so falls under the catagory of two wrongs don’t make a right. Would I feel very guilty having missed mass? Yes. So I would ask God’s forgiveness, get to confession as soon as possible, and hopefully that guilt would keep me from being lazy on future Sundays.

If you were my co-worker I would NOT appreicate you blowing off mass in the AM and then calling in sick to go later.

Having said that, we all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect, certainly not me, but you asked so I gave you my opinion.

Methinks they did not internalize the information that you arrived at work 5 and a half hours before they did…

But you’re calling in sick (one wrong) so you can avoid the other wrong of not going to Mass. It’s a matter of exchanging one wrong for another, since doing one wrong at least was unavoidable.

IMHO this, plus the fact that the poster was actually sick and therefore quite possibly not sinning by calling into work, it was choosing the lesser of two evils - our obligations to God (including the Sunday obligation) always trump obligations to neighbour or employer in the event of conflict.

Lily, your second paragraph contradicts the first. If he’s choosing the lesser of two evils, he still committing one wrong to avoid doing the other.

He was just feeling a little sick… not too sick to call in - he admited that. He had also spent the morning shopping. If he were* actually* so sick that he couldn’t go to work, it wouldn’t have been a problem missing mass. We are not obligated to go to mass if we are sick. The fact that he went to mass shows, IMO that he wasn’t too sick to be at work.

I maintain that it was two wrongs - #1 he was too lazy in the morning to get to mass and he didn’t make going a priority (going shopping instead) when he knew full well that he had to work later = Not keeping the Sabbath holy. #2 Calling in sick when he wasn’t actually sick = lying, not loving his neighbor (co-worker)

Besides, if someone from his workplace knew he had called in “sick” and later saw him going to mass, it would certainly be a very poor witness of his faith. I can hear it now… “Catholics… they are such hypocrites… they lie and call in sick so they can go to CHURCH at night even thought they have all morning when they could’ve gone!”

Sorry, I can see how that would be confusing. When I said ‘lesser of two evils’ I meant that in choosing to go to Mass he was choosing to do the most important thing he needed to do that day, and therefore avoid the greater evil.

You kidding? Mass involves one hour or a bit more of your time, most of that being relatively passive mentally and physically. Work is eight hours of sustained mental and/or physical effort. Of course one can be sick enough not to go to work but not too sick to go to Mass.

He didn’t say he wasn’t sick enough to call in - just said ordinarily he wouldn’t call in. Surely you and I both know there are some loons who do insist on going into work even if they are very ill, so that’s no indication that he actually wasn’t very sick. Not to mention the selfishness of putting colleagues at risk if you have something contagious - so if you do, even a mild cold or flu, you shouldn’t go in, because your colleagues will not only catch it, some will come down hard.

I maintain that it was two wrongs - #1 he was too lazy in the morning to get to mass and he didn’t make going a priority (going shopping instead) when he knew full well that he had to work later = Not keeping the Sabbath holy. #2 Calling in sick when he wasn’t actually sick = lying, not loving his neighbor (co-worker)

The precept is to keep the Sabbath holy by going to Mass at some point during the day - not to go to Mass first thing in the morning on Sunday. If he missed work but went to Mass then he didn’t neglect the obligation to keep the Sabbath holy. He didn’t sin simply because he chose not to go in the morning.

I can see you point. But we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I think it is very irresponsible to call in sick if your sole motivation is to be able to go to mass espeically if you’ve blown off the other masses you could’ve gone to. He doesn’t sound like one of those loons you mentioned. He said:

Again, while I was a little under the weather, I probably would have normally went to work. So I really mainly called in simply to meet my Sunday obligation.

If everyone stayed home from work because they were “a little under the weather” imgagine the mess that would create for employers, especially if they had to pay someone else overtime to cover the shifts, as they had to do for the OP.

I think you’d feel differently about this if YOU were his employer.

I’ve seen havoc and mass epidemics of illness caused numerous times in my workplace by irresponsible people who insist on coming into work while contagiously ill. It resulted in FAR more disruption than if that single person had stayed home for a day or two. So I absolutely would not feel the slightest bit differently.

Just wanted everyone to know I’ve been interested in the responses to this thread, and I see that it’s generated a healthy debate.

I couldn’t get to confession, because I worked over the confession hours. But I’ll be off next week and will keep you all updated upon what my priest says.

I have been (and still am to a certain extent) one of those loons who has went to work while very sick, even while puking. So my standards are higher then others. Though I must admit my wife has been making headway on changing my opinions on that, and I haven’t went to work while puking in two years. In my wife’s opinion, I should have stayed home. I was only almost to the point of puking, and didn’t actually. In my manly opinion, I could have made it (and I’m trying to save up time for baby leave, too…should have mentioned that).

As far as the people I work with catching it. Well, the 80 inmates I watch are behind glass and physical contact is minimal (though I do walk through from time to time). So I’m in my own “bubble” most of the day (for lack of a better word).

As far as how my employer would have felt, the 13 sick days a year we have is a contractual right in the union contract. No proof is required, and no one is disciplined unless they exceed that (and I’m not even remotely close). Some supervisors even say that since it’s hard to get a day off, we should call in sick if we need to. However, being a Catholic (and follower of truth- Jesus), I don’t want to be a hypocrite and do want to only call in sick when I’m actually sick. Do my co-workers care? No. Do I care about my image before God? Yes. That’s where my moral dilemma is.

Well, given that you apparently ARE one of those loons (you were right Lily!) I think it was best that you called in sick. Since you were actually sick. And since you have sick days available.

Please let us know, if you don’t mind, what your Priest thought because this was an interesting discussion.

I hope you are feeling better… and if so, what time is mass tomorrow? :smiley:

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