Missing mass: grave sin or mortal sin?

In the CCC states:
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. Those who **deliberately **fail in this obligation commit a **grave sin. **

Why the CCC don’t say those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit mortal sin? For what I know, a grave sin and a mortal sin is two different things…

grave sin = mortal sin

What you “know” is in error. It’s the same thing.


There are three criteria for a sin to be mortal: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. See the Catechism section 1857 and following.

Someone can tell you that a certain thing involves grave matter, but whether it is a mortal sin depends on the other two criteria as well.

Grave pertains to the matter. This tell us the intentionally missing Mass is grave matter.

This, is, however, only the first requirement for mortal sin, and is the only objective one. The other two are subjective: full knowledge and full consent. Once all three are present, then this is a mortal sin. If either is lacking, then this sin, even if it is objectively grave, is venial.

That is not correct. Gravity of the sin only pertains to one requirement of the three for a sin to be mortal.

In the wording of the CCC, it says that to miss mass deliberately is a grave sin. That covers grave matter and full consent, but NOT knowledge. A person can deliberately miss mass without knowing it is grave.

Of course, as you know, a person must properly form his conscience. Ignorance is not bliss nor is it a free pass to escape mortal sin.

That also goes for holy days of obligation such as “All saints day” and Christmas.

Our priest says that we will not go to Hell for missing Mass. He says that is the biggest fear he hears in confession . He reassures us that it is not to be feared that missing Mass is an instant ticket to Hell.

It sounds like your priest is leading people to sin.

The CCC is very clear on what constitutes grave matter and mortal sin. What is not clear to most is how much consent people give to the act. This is best discussed in the confessional because EACH individual is different and there are no blanket statements when it comes to mortal sin. Missing Mass is grave matter and that was mentioned in the original post. Is it a “mortal sin” for everyone? Nope. If you read the section on mortal sin you will clearly see this. So, we cannot play God here and read the hearts of all.

He is my Priest so I would never speak against him. But I wll not miss Mass on Sunday unless I am truly too sick to go.

I refer to the Catechism when I am in doubt about things.

Missing Mass is not a sin if you have a serious reason for staying away, such as sickness, caring for a sick family member, etc.

That is completely irrelevant to what I said. I am talking about the wording in the CCC passage, not about whether or not it is wrong to miss mass. That’s a given.

it is actually kind of complex

first you are obligated to go to Sunday Mass.

you are not obligated to go to daily Mass.

There are some reasons that you can miss mass and it not be a sin.

  1. you may be sick and going to Mass could put others health at risk.
  2. You through no fault of your own are a long distance from any catholic parish and it would be to difficult for you to get to mass.
  3. You have a job that makes it impossible for you to go to mass on Saturday or Sunday. (in this situation I would ask the boss if you could work Mass into your schedule.
  4. You are traveling a long distance. (A valid reason I believe but its not hard to find a mass to go to on the road)
  5. you are caring for infants or the sick and you can’t leave their side (the Catechism actually lists this as a serious reason which would allow you to miss mass)
    There could be many other reasons. But they must be serious and mostly out of your control.

but you must do your best to make sure you get to Mass EVERY Sunday. There are some exceptions but they should be grave reasons only and if it is a habit you should work to change that habit, with the exception of people who are home bound and maybe a couple others.

But this is how you see if its a sin.

  1. is it Sunday?
  2. did you have the ability to attend Sunday Mass
  3. Did you purposely not go to Mass on Sunday. (note while forgetfulness would lessen your culpability it doesn’t take away the sin)

If you answered yes to all three go to confession ASAP.

I hope this helps

and to everyone if I made a mistake about valid reasons to miss mass please let me know.

I always hear the words “grave” and “matter” used together to denote a serious action. The words “mortal” and “sin” used together refer to a an action which is grave matter and is committed with full knowledge and consent.

Since the catechism uses the term deliberately (as bolded), I assume that it refers to missing Mass with knowledge and consent. I always thought that the writers made a mistake and should have used mortal sin instead of grave sin. Is that what you were getting at? There are venial sins or mortal sins. What is a grave sin?

I agree with you.

Basically, outside the justifiable reasons you stated you stated for missing Mass, if a person knows that missing Mass on Sundays is a sin of grave matter then (assuming no coercion or mental incapacity) they have committed a mortal sin by not going. Too many people are looking for get out of jail free cards and make all sorts of excuses for not going that are clearly not valid, e.g. had a hangover, forgot to set my alarm, forgot it was Sunday, can’t be bothered, etc etc.

Yes Grave sin = Mortal sin.

They are interchangble terms and can be used in both a subjective and objective sense.

But yes the matter needs to be grave and there needs to the needed knowledge and deliberate consent in order to commit a grave sin.

So… you tell me I’m wrong and then prove me right in the same post. Look at what we’re talking about here:

[quote=CCC 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. **Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin. **

The CCC **does not say **that “Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a mortal sin.” It says “grave sin.”

I was clarifying the fact that it is possible for a person to commit a grave sin without committing a mortal sin, and I am correct given the context of this conversation.

My understanding is that while it is a grave matter, it is also understood that we are humans and thus fallible. Some people will forget to set the alarm, or the power will go out, or the car battery will be dead, or they don’t have any clean underwear, or the sewer backed up into their house, or the 3yr old decided to run into the 5yr old and knock out their teeth, or various other life craziness ensues. None of these is objectively a reason to miss mass - but such things happen, they aren’t planned for, and those who have difficulty with organizational skills in the first place will be thrown for a loop when they happen - and may very well end up missing mass.

There is a difference (or should be) between life chaos and deciding the pre-game show is more interesting then attending mass. The reason behind the action is very personal - and it’s my understanding that very thing is what can differentiate between mortal and lesser sin. Each of us have to examine our conscience and speak to our priests about it on our own.

Full disclosure - I have missed mass for every reason (and many more) listed above - and have been told every time in confession by different priests that I shouldn’t worry about it but just take care of the kids and do my best to make it to mass as often as I am able. (Which thankfully now is almost always).

He should not be minimizing the gravity of missing Sunday Mass. He also should not be repeating anything he hears in confession.

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