Missing Mass is a Mortal Sin


According to the Catechism, if a person willfully misses the Sunday obligation to attend weekly mass, it is a mortal sin. This means they will go to hell if they don’t repent. Do you know people in this situation in your family (Catholic and knowingly missing mass and knowing it is an obligation)?


No, I do not know anyone who fits that description.

You have to remember that in order for a sin to be mortal it has to meet three criteria: the person has to have full consent, full knowledge and it has to be a grave matter. Willful disobedience to a Church precept is indeed a grave matter. However, many Catholics are ignorant about the fact that it is a grave matter to miss Mass. Therefore, they are not in a state of mortal sin if they did not commit the act with full knowledge. I would never presume to know if the person has full knowledge or if they have repented, that is for God alone to know. That is also why we are not to judge other people.


Good point. I’d go a step further and say that even if a Catholic knows that missing mass is of grave matter, if they do not fully trust the church’s authority on the matter they still lack full knowledge.

This is the issue I find most common. You can tell a catholic that the church says missing mass is of grave matter and thus puts one in potential of mortal sin. Yet they dismiss this as either the person stating it being in error or the church itself being in error.

Most catholics simply do not accept the authority of the church being infallible. Therefore they make thier own decisions and regard the good efforts of catholics who do accept the churches authority as being flawed or misguided.

Catholics, in general were never taught or instructed in the true meaning of the authority of the church.

The individual who recognizes the authority of the church and still dismisses it put’s himself in bad place. But, of course, who would do this? When one trusts and loves the church, the bride of Christ, one would never choose to miss mass. Kind of a reverse catch-22.

Maybe my view is overly optimistic. If so, I’d like to hear other views.



I find that I cannot answer your poll because I don’t see an answer there that I can sign up to. I know several Catholics who are probably in a state of mortal sin because they have deliberately missed mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation, but I cannot say with any assurance that they will go to Hell. Confession is a wonderful sacrament, after all. On top of that, I cannot read the state of anybody’s soul and do not know whether a Catholic who has deliberately missed mass is in a state of mortal sin or invincible ignorance.

  • Liberian


misses the Sunday obligation to attend weekly mass, it is a mortal sin. This means they will go to hell if they don’t repent. Do you know people in this situation in your family (Catholic and knowingly missing mass and knowing it is an obligation)?I don’t nose around in my brothers and sisters lives so unless they actually told me about it I wouldn’t know.

The whole thing about a mortal sin is that it has to be

  1. A grave matter
  2. You have to know that it is
  3. You have to fully consent to commit it

HERE’s the very first post that I made here at CAF on this very topic.


As I understand it, it’s also grave matter (one of the three necessary elements of a mortal sin) to speculate that any specific individual is going to go to Hell, since that is a judgement upon the person of the sort that Christ reserves to Himself alone, and even in His own case, He will not exercise it until the Last Day.

We are not even allowed to say for certain that Judas went to Hell, even though the Scriptures tell us plainly that it would have been better for him never to have been born - much less our brother or sister who may well have an unknown reason for missing Mass that they do not care to mention to us in particular - although as it turns out, I have only encountered one person who missed Mass for what seemed to me to be a trivial reason - and I feel certain that if the reason was, in fact, trivial, that she Confessed it almost immediately, since she is usually a very devout Catholic; normally, she is a daily communicant, and she does go to Confession at least once a week.


I cannot presume to judge who will and who will not go to hell. That’s God’s decision alone. All I can do is pray for those whom I believe are sinning and entrust their souls to God’s mercy.

FWIW, I do believe it is a mortal sin to miss Mass if the criteria for a mortal sin is fulfilled by the action (delibere knowledge and so forth).


I have absolutely no knowledge of the spiritual condition of anyone on this planet. I have observed plenty of behaviors and omissions on the part of persons close to me, public figures and other I meet that is objectively sinful. However, since I can not possibly have any knowledge of their intention, their conscience, their ignorance or formation in the faith, their contrition or lack of it, or any other knowledge that is the province of the priest in confession or the internal forum, then I am not now nor ever shall be in a position to pronounce upon the eternal fate of any human being. It is extremely dangerous, moreover, to my personal spiritual health to spend any time and energy contemplating the sins of others. My own sins must occupy all my attention.


It is not my place to judge others. We as Christians are called to admonish others to bring them closer to God, Not to alienate them with harsh judgment.


No matter what you see or hear someone do, you cannot know where they will be two hours from now, much less two days. They could be anywhere, physically or spiritually. Also, only God can search the inner parts of their heart.

However, many folks may know someone whom they ought to correct at one time or another about mass attendance. I have found myself in the position of having to do it more than once.


I’ve been giving this very topic some thought myself and find myself asking more questions about the conclusions I reached. (Funny also, that the subject of being better off not having been born as well coming up, as again I find that it might be a safer option in comparison to an eternity in hell?)

Anyway, are you better off to be in a Protestant church and never run the risk of missing Mass, thus endangering yourself to an eternity of damnation?


Do you know why the CC decided missing Mass is considered a Mortal Sin worthy of hell if there is no repentence?


To be honest, I don’t know.

I have an idea, but I put that down to my cynical streak that I’m constantly fighting against.


I voted that “I am not convinced that missing mass will send someone to hell,” because God may still forgive them. Some don’t miss on purpose, but I’m sure the Church means “purposely missing.”

Prayers and petitions,


Missing Mass on Sundays and on Holy Days of Obligation is a mortal sin because Sunday is the first day of the week (not to mention the anniversary of the Resurrection) and Holy Days of Obligation are feasting days, and we are supposed to bring the firstfruits of our labour to the Lord.

How can we bring our firstfruits to the Lord if we are not even present in His house to worship Him? But the Lord says that He will abundantly bless everyone who puts Him first.

So, we are to go to Mass on the first day of the week and offer the first day of the week to God. (Since on the First Day of Creation, God began to give to us the whole world, and on the Sunday of the Resurrection, He also added all of Heaven to that. Out of this abundance that He has given to us - the whole world, and Heaven besides - we return to Him at least an hour of our time, and maybe something more as well.)

And before we sit down to eat a big feast in honour of whatever we happen to be honouring on that day, we should go to Mass and offer our praise and thanksgiving to Him, first, since it is He who provides us with what is necessary for us to have a feast, in the first place - after all, He is the one who provides everything for us, including the air we breathe, and lungs with which to breathe it.



Thanks. Im wondering now where the CC got this info. from about someone missing would be a mortal sin. I absolutely understand and agree with what you say and the importance of it but where is this considered a mortal sin biblically? Did the CC get this from the bible or is it part of Sacred Tradition?


This poll question is ill-posed. Missing Divine Liturgy is a grave sin and mortal if all the conditions met. Even if they did commit an actual mortal sin by missing mass, we cannot say “they will go to hell” as the question in the poll put it. Its Christs job to make that call.


In a round-about way, we get it from the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), which command us to set aside a Sabbath Day for worship each week. The Church, through the power of the Keys given to Peter and the Apostles (Matthew 16:18) sets that day as Sunday, for the reasons stated above.

For the Jews, feasting days were always set aside as Sabbaths, and we simply continue with their custom in that regard, although obviously we observe Christian feasting days, rather than Jewish ones.


Bible and sacred tradition. In Paul’s writings we are told that the believers meet on the Lord’s Day to share ‘in the breaking of the bread’, which was so important that Paul warns us lest we approach this ‘unworthily’. Considering the context of these early Christian days, for people to gather together to do this every Sunday was very dangerous; spies were always on the lookout for Christians. You risked death but you went because it was that important. Christianity’s Sunday meal was ‘the’ time that Christians gathered as a community rather than in tiny groups, and it was where you would hear the Jewish scriptures and listen to the letters of Paul, Peter, John, Jude. . .

And thus during those centuries after and to this time, the tradition from the Scriptures (oral and written) that Christians meet to celebrate the Lord’s Supper every Sunday carries out what the apostles taught. You see, a Mass is not just a ‘memorial’, any and every Mass is “The Lord’s Supper” as well as “Calvary”, every single time–not ‘redone’ as some think but by the mystery of God that very same Lord’s Supper. We are truly present with the apostles, we are truly present at the Cross–every time. We receive not just bread and wine, but the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Christ at every single Mass.

Without ‘the bread which gave us to be the life of the world’ we ‘have no life within us.’ Of course, since God does not hold us to impossibilities, those who physically or otherwise ‘cannot’ attend Mass are not guilty of mortal sin. Those who either doctrinally or otherwise ‘cannot believe’ in the Mass as this great sacrifice, and do not understand how important it is, have much lesser culpability.

You know that when people “protested” against Catholicism, they broke from this exact tradition, 1500 years of knowing what the Mass was and its grave importance. But by ‘choosing’ to make a Mass into a ‘protestant service’ which lacks the Real Presence, they made their service into something completely different–a memorial, certainly intending to ‘respect’ God but since it doesn’t contain God’s sacrifice, it is something that ‘can’ be missed.

I don’t blame somebody with 500 years of a tradition of ‘church services’ which are, though certainly respectful, simple ‘memorials’ which could basically be held anywhere or anytime and which don’t involve God’s real temporal sacrifice. Until that person understands that a Protestant church service and a Catholic Mass are not interchangeable or equivalents (and again I do not mean to be disrespectful in saying that one is ‘better’, but the fact is, one IS better and I would be lying if I, in trying to ‘spare someone’s feelings’, lied about my own convictions), they just won’t understand. But God knows their hearts and He will give grace to those who seek it.


The “rules” surrounding Sunday have their roots in divine law (it is related to the fourth commandment) and the natural law. I think it likely that it is because of this that it is considered grave. However, it is also like theft (number 7), which can be smaller than grave at times.

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