Missing Mass


I have a question. I will be missing mass tomorrow because I dont have a car and my Dads car(the only car that is avaliable to me) has been over heating and I dont trust it to go to Mass (or anywhere else really). My parents will be having it fixed or replaceing it once the income tax check comes (which should be in a week or 2) Am I comiting a mortal sin by not going since I really dont have a reliable way to get there tomorrow?


You don’t mention your age. Is it possible to safely walk to Church? Is there any public transportation available? Do you have any friends at Church who could give you a ride?


I am 21. I cant really walk there because its 16 miles one way and half interstate. The bus system here does not run into the suburb that I live in (it runs to the town next to here but stops at city limit and we are in the same county but thats another topice for a nother time lol)
I have not been able to get ahold of my friends to ask for a ride yet.


I believe if you do all you can do to get there safely and you still can’t make it, then in that particular case it probably isn’t a sin, but you have to make an effort.
You could have asked in advance (your Parish Priest) and I believe he could have excused you if you had done all you could first. There is a Mass on EWTN (ewtn.com) you could watch and receive Jesus spiritually, you can watch it on your computer if you don’t have a t.v. (check to make sure first that you don’t have some kind of dial up or service that will charge you for this though.) Then get to confesssion and Mass again as soon as possible. Ask your Parish if someone could take you back and forth until such time as you can get there again. (are you sure there isn’t a closer Parish you could walk to? I believe this site could help you masstimes.org. or is it com?) Anyway, be sure to check with your Pastor as I am no expert. There is probably a question and answer on here somewhere already posted about this, do a search for it.


Confess it ANYWAY the next time you go to confession explaining just as you did here. I doubt that it is a mortal sin based on what you said since you are making reasonable efforts to go but let the priest be the final judge.


I would just go to confession to play it safe. Explain to the priest what happened to your car.
I am a 68yr. old lady and I have been watching the Catholic Mass on my t.v. but I live in a big city where we can watch it on t.v. It is telecast from New York city. It is a great service.
I do plan to go to confession and play it safe because deep in my heart I feel guilty about it. My main problem is that I am clustophobic which means I get panic attacks in large crowds and I feel I can’t breath. It has also been very cold. I think they may be lamb excuses since I just like to stay home all the time.
But tomorrow I plan to go to Sunday Mass. But I plan to go to confession as soon as I can. I will feel better about it.
Confession is good for the soul and your spirituality.


If a person has done he can to get to Mass, and cannot, he is excused. It is NOT a sin.

A 16-mile hike when there is no other Catholic parish nearby, no transportation and no friend to drive is certainly reason enough!


It is absolutely not a sin to miss Mass in your circumstances. Since you would like to go to Mass, you might try and see if you can get a ride with someone. But, you don’t actually have to walk or hitchhike or call everybody in the parish. If you are worried about it being a sin, ask the priest the next time you go to confession. He’ll tell you it’s not, but hearing it from him may set your mind at ease.


LaLucia, have you considered finding a Mass that’s not in a big, crowded Church? If you’re in NYC, there are probably several options. For example, a lot of hospitals and convents have Sunday Mass in a small setting. There may also be a Saturday night vigil Mass or a Mass later in the day on Sunday that is much less crowded. Pray for help to locate a Mass that doesn’t give you panic attacks and that you can get to.


Let’s play “what if” …

We are to make every reasonable effort to not miss mass on Sunday. If I know mid-week there is a chance of missing mass on Sunday, I have more opportunity to make reasonable efforts to avoid missing mass. I can call up friends, call the church to see if there is anyone passing by me on their way to church that would be willing to take me, etc. There is less chance of that happening if I wait until the last minute.

If one waits until the last minute to make reasonable attempts, it MIGHT be a sin for not making those reasonable attempts sooner when there was a higher chance of success.

Which is why I don’t make the final judgment whether or not the post’er might have committed a sin or not – because it is not my place. Best to leave it to a priest who has the authority to determine if it was a sin or not and to forgive the sin if one was committed.

The worst that will happen is that the priest will say that it was not a sin. Always best to be sure when dealing with a possible mortal sin.


If it’s “possibly” a mortal sin, then it’s NOT a mortal sin. For to be a mortal sin, it has to have some intentionality (and certainly knowledge) as well as weight.


I might be too late with this suggestion, but do you have money for a cab? Maybe you could use the money you are saving on gas from the car you are unable to use?


One has to make reasonable efforts to get to Mass. But extraordinary efforts (though commendable) would not be essential. So, plainly, if one has tried the best they can (within reason) to get to Mass, but can’t (at least not without walking 16 miles, so to speak) then they are excused. Still, it is appropriate to do what one can on Sunday to spend some time in prayer as a way of offering appropriate worship.


This was discuss on these forums in the past and ignorance or lack of knowledge does not excuse one of guilt in ALL cases.

I’m off to church soon so I don’t have the time to do a search but both scripture and the CCC support that postion – that lack of knowledge does not excuse one of guilt in ALL cases.

That’s why it is best to let the priest make the final determination.

EDITTED TO ADD: See Leviticus 5:17 …

  • … If any one sin, and do any of the things which Jehovah hath commanded not to be done, though he knew it not*, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity …

… and CCC 1791 …

  • … when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.” In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits* …


As I said before, if a person knows in advance of difficulties in getting to mass and only begins to make reasonable efforts a day or two before, their chances of making it to mass becomes more limited than if they began those efforts sooner. By starting as early as possible, a way MIGHT have been found to go to mass but waiting until the last minutes, there might have been no reasonable way to get to mass.

Which is why we should leave it up to the priest in confession to make that determination.


Is the weather hospitable enough by you to go by bicycle?

Can you get a ride from a neighbor?

I don’t know if it is too late for today, but for future reference I agree with the other poster that you should have a “backup plan” if you know well enough in advance that your own transportation is questionable.


Hello Helpful, Thank you for your advise. Great idea of finding a smaller place for Sunday Mass. I used to live in a different city and the parish I attended had a location near a side door that was kept opened and that made me feel real good,
I will do a search.

I have been in a situation where I was out of town and I did plan to attend church in that city on a Sat. because I was planning to fly out on Sunday morning. Well… I got emotionally ill and took a pill and forgot to attend Mass. I have psychological problems that are real and I do go for therapy when it is necessary. Only mentally ill people understand my problem. But I still know when I commit a sin. Not attending church is a sin.

Sometimes…even with having everything planned out…things don’t always go as planned. But I think that this young man should discuss his problem with his priest of getting to church on Sundays because I know that it will happen again with the car trouble. His priest will help him find a solution.

He must go to confession and it doesn’t matter what type of sin it is. He will be forgiven and there is no way the priest will say that it was not a sin. His priest has heard confessions of people giving excuses for not attending church. He has heard it from several people and he knows the truth on each case.
Once a car has trouble they keep on having trouble.
He has to be prepared for next time because his parents may decide to go for a ride Sunday morning to visit friends and he will be without a car again.
Yes, he must be prepared for the future.


chicago is correct. I don’t want the OP second-guessing himself or herself into scrupulous behavior. There are three parts to a mortal sin: Grave matter (which this is), full knowledge, and deliberate consent. No way this guy or gal has deliberate consent!

There is no need to play"what if" in this instance.


He said that one has to travel on the interstate to get to mass. Bicycles are not allowed on interstates. Not worth the risk of getting over by crazy drivers either. I would never ride my bike on a remotely busy road.

OP, don’t beat yourself up over this. Just try to make arrangement ahead of time if you know you can’t make it to mass on your own.


“Full knowledge” is not ALWAYS required. See Leviticus 5:17 …

  • … If any one sin, and do any of the things which Jehovah hath commanded not to be done, though he knew it not*, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity …

… and CCC 1791 …

  • … when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.” In such cases, the person IS culpable for the evil he commits* …

… the above are direct quotes.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.