Missing Mass

I am a student about to go on a field trip with my school. However, the trip is over the weekend and I won’t be able to go to mass. I go to a public school and since there’s a separation of church and school, and other issues, I probably wont be able to go to a church even if there is one near by.
I wanted to know if its a mortal sin if I miss mass during such circumstances.

Assuming the field trip is a necessity for you, you can ask your pastor for a dispensation from your Sunday obligation beforehand. If you have been dispensed from your Sunday obligation for that weekend, then it’s not sinful not to go.

If there are other Catholic students going with you, then perhaps you should all approach your teacher together, to see if some arrangement can be made. If any of the teachers or adults going with you are Catholic, perhaps they can help as well by offering to supervise you.

You really ought to call your Parish and speak with your Pastor about this.

On a personal note however, I don’t see how anyone could KEEP you from going to Mass if you so chose to. If I were a teenager in a Public School and I were Catholic, which I am, I would make sure that I didn’t miss Mass and that if some circumstance were coming up where I was aware that I might miss Mass I would talk to the Priest in advance. He could dispence you from Mass (not sure if that is the correct wording as I’ve never had to do this), IF it were truly for a good reason.

Could you ask your teachers/chaperones if you can attend Mass?

Call your priest and ask him.

I would think that the school would absolutely take you to Mass, given that it’s EASTER!

Edit:
Nevermind that Easter business.

Its not on Easter.
Its the Sunday after Easter.
Divine Mercy Sunday.

Have you let them know that you would like them to make arrangements for you to go to Mass either Saturday evening or Sunday morning?

It is not a sin unless you are not going to mass because you are truly angry with the big man upstairs, and have the intent to never go to mass again. Obviously this is not your intent, as you wish to go, but will be unable to. I went to public school, and the asking the teacher if you can go with other students would seem kind of silly, as the answer will most obviously be no. Too many bad things could happen away from the group, and it is all liability and politics.

I would just make sure you say your prayers, and go to mass the next Sunday. I actually brought this up to one of my priests in confession once, and he thought it was kinda funny that I thought it was mortal sin to miss mass once, due to unseen circumstance (or even knowing you won’t be able to go). I partly felt this way from reading some of these posts on this forum. God is love and knows your heart.

As long as it doesn’t become habitual, you will be alright. Have fun on your trip, when you get to college, field trips seem to cease to exist (unless you are in geology or some other awesome class). Definitely don’t let it effect the amount of fun that you should have on your field trip.

What is required for mortal sin is

a) that you know it’s a grave sin (and the Precept of the church is that missing Mass - even one single time - without having a serious reason to miss it, is grave sin, as your priest should have known and should have informed you) and

b) you willingly do it anyway.

Doesn’t matter whether it’s out of hatred for God or because you’re still hungover from teh night before or whatever. Doesn’t matter if it’s just once or happens more than once. It’s a breach of the commandment to honour the Sabbath - do you think any priest would say adultery, stealing or murder was OK as long as you only did it once and didn’t make a habit of it?

Fact is, if you don’t have a serious reason to miss Mass on any Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation, and choose to miss anyway, it’s a mortal sin.

As you say, it doesn’t cover situations where there are unseen circumstances. But if you can foresee it then you need a dispensation. As for schools - if there’s a whole bunch of them going with a teacher or responsible adult who is also Catholic, then why should it be any more dangerous than the rest of the trip? Why should there be any ‘politics’?

As Catholics we believe in mortal and venial sins. Mortal sins are those as described as above, and venial sins are ones that have lesser value, such as telling a white lie (?) or hitting our brother (?). These sins are small, and do not necessarily have to be confessed. Mortal sins are something like murder, knowing that it is wrong and still committing it. Is committing murder really the same as missing mass once in a blue moon, because of something out of one’s control?

I love being Catholic, and everything that goes with it. Being a Catholic has a lot of black and white, but there is also room for God’s love to fill in the grey areas (missing mass for a school function does not equal killing a person), in which God can read our hearts. It is these interpretations that lead some people to reject our beautiful faith.

Or quite often they reject it because of all the rules. God gave us the notion of right and wrong, so that we know when we are in a state of sin or not (our conscience). I personally don’t believe that missing mass constitutes a mortal sin, unless it is truly for the rejection of Christ. To tell someone who is growing in their faith, a teenager, that this constitutes a mortal sin, seems unfair and absurd as they are doing their best to get closer to God, and should not have to feel any extra unnecessary burden as having the notion they are carrying a mortal sin on their soul, until they can confess it, or even having to go seek dispensation before hand.

The Catholic faith allows us to listen to our conscience, and let God’s will flourish. When we know we have committed grave sin, we can confess it. If we never know that we commit grave sin, then how are we suppose to know to confess?

It is hard enough growing up in the light of Christ as a teenager in today’s society, but to have someone telling them that they have sinned equivalent to murder is absurd. That is all I am saying.

As for schools - if there’s a whole bunch of them going with a teacher or responsible adult who is also Catholic, then why should it be any more dangerous than the rest of the trip? Why should there be any ‘politics’?

When is the last time you have been to a public school? It seems not too long ago that the Supreme Court passed a law that praying to Jesus in public settings at school functions is outlawed, why would they allow for someone to go to Church during a field trip?

I think it is ludicrous, but it is just the way it is. It is impossible to get around.

Is a single bullet to the head really the same as being knifed 25 times in the chest? Of course not. Will both things kill you? Absolutely. So it is with mortal sins - doesn’t matter how they rank compared to other mortal - or even venial - sins, they are deadly.

All it took for Adam and Eve was to eat the fruit that God told them not to eat and they were cast out of God’s presence - did they murder or do something that most people would think was serious? Of course not. Was it mortal? Absolutely.

Or quite often they reject it because of all the rules. God gave us the notion of right and wrong, so that we know when we are in a state of sin or not (our conscience).

Charles Manson or Hitler almost certainly would NOT have thought that they were sinning at all, let alone sinning seriously, if you’d asked them. Were their consciences doing the job of God-given guide then? Was their ‘sin radar’ functioning properly? On the contrary.

See, our consciences are fallible guides at best, and need to be properly formed (as the Catechism says) by the INfallible teaching of the Church, since Christ gave the Apostles and their successors the authority to bind and loose. He didn’t tell them to ‘do whatever you feel’ but ‘teach them all that I have commanded you’ and then tells US that ‘who hears you (the Apostles and their successors) hears Me, who rejects you rejects Me’.

I personally don’t believe that missing mass constitutes a mortal sin, unless it is truly for the rejection of Christ. To tell someone who is growing in their faith, a teenager, that this constitutes a mortal sin, seems unfair and absurd as they are doing their best to get closer to God, and should not have to feel any extra unnecessary burden as having the notion they are carrying a mortal sin on their soul, until they can confess it, or even having to go seek dispensation before hand.

The Catholic faith allows us to listen to our conscience, and let God’s will flourish. When we know we have committed grave sin, we can confess it. If we never know that we commit grave sin, then how are we suppose to know to confess?

And if you make no effort to learn what Christ through the Church teaches us about sin, then how can you hope to know anything? Because you ‘feel’? Everyone who commits adultery or robs a bank ‘feels’ that what they are doing is justified and not a sin for some reason or other. Doesn’t make their ‘feelings’ right.

Of course we first learn what sin IS, and what things are sins. And we must learn from the infallible teacher, the Church. Not from our (too often) easily misled and unformed or malformed ‘conscience’ or ‘feelings’. Only after we have learned as we should, then we can rightly judge whether we’ve sinned or not.

It is hard enough growing up in the light of Christ as a teenager in today’s society, but to have someone telling them that they have sinned equivalent to murder is absurd. That is all I am saying.

It’s not equivalent to murder, any more than the bullet is equivalent to the 25 stabs to the chest in my example. It IS nonetheless mortal sin if done deliberately.

They (the school) are not responsible, the person going on the trip is. The school is not to interfere in the practice of any students religious obligation. So if the student and or their parent has made the request and done all that they can to arrange for some time for Mass, and it is not possible. Then they have done all that they can do.
It could possibly be considered a sin of ommission if the student or parent does not at least make an effort to arrange a time for Mass.

As others have said, you can request a dispensation from your pastor.

Mostly I want to comment on the phrase “since there’s a separation of church and school.”

A field trip by definition is taking place outside of school. That means that the school has a responsibility to the students. This includes meals, for example. If a Jewish student needed kosher food then it would be up to the school to provide it, not tell the student “there’s a separation of religion and school so you’re going to eat pork chops along with everyone else.” If a Catholic student needs to attend Mass then it’s up to the school to provide transportation. In both cases, the parents of the students should ensure that their children’s freedom to practice their religion is not being infringed by the school.

I know that this is probably not a fight you want to wage, but it is a point that parents should be demanding.

This is remarkably bad advice.

Murder is one example of mortal sin, but there are many others. Just because a sin doesn’t seem to resemble murder doesn’t mean it’s not mortal.

When you say that you “personally don’t believe that missing mass constitutes a mortal sin,” you are putting your own opinion above the teachings of the Church which Christ founded. Christ told the Church, through Peter, that what the Church binds on earth is bound in heaven, i.e., that we can assume that what the Church officially teaches is the will of God. Here is what the Church teaches about the Sunday obligation, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, bold emphasis added:

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.

Yes, “The Catholic faith allows us to listen to our conscience,” but that conscience must be informed by the teachings of the Church. Conscience is not a “do your own thing” matter.

The original poster should make an effort to find a way to attend Mass, and if unsuccessful, should get a dispensation from her own pastor ahead of time.

Let’s clear up this “separation of Church and State” thing.

You are in the USA, right?

Those words are not part of the Constituion.

The government cannot establish a religion and cannot prohibit your free exercise of religion. Ask your teacher for a copy of the Constitution, read the 1st Amendment and you will lear what it says :slight_smile:

If the school would not permit my son to exercise his religion, he would not go on the field trip.

This is remarkably bad advice.

Alright, that’s fine. When I went to confess this mortal sin to my priest, he smiled real big, kinda chuckled, and told me that it was not a something that was a mortal sin. And I read the catechism yesterday, it calls it a grave sin (not mortal) but when there is no priest or place to worship, it is sufficient to prayer and reflect the same amount of time that you would to worship at mass on Sunday.

And anyway, most of you who are posting are much older than high school I do believe. What do you have to say about holding different standards for different people. Or better yet what does the Church say? Is a 9 year old still accountable for all of the things that he or she does as does a 30 year old, at least in the eyes of God, who instituted the church? I know in crimes, they do not count the same, but what does the Church say?

Because as you said, you had certain circumstances that prevented you from going Therefore, its not a serious/grave/whatever sin. You weren’t making a conscious choice to not go.

You are mixing the problem here.

Missing mass, In general, is grave matter. If a person fulfills all the requirements for it to be a mortal sin, then they have commited a mortal sin.

This particular instance for the OP has several facets to it, one of them being that it doesn’t seem she has any control (although we don’t know for certain).

You are coming up will all sorts of extraneous rules and things that are causing confusion and not helping.

I think that people on this board need to think about who they are addressing, what age, what level of knowledge of the faith, and other things. I know that I have read things that make me sad, because everyone on the boards thinks that something is a mortal sin, and it may be something that I don’t think twice about, as I have grown up in a different time. It is hard to deal with other people telling you are in state of mortal sin, when you are just trying your best. Sunday school always said if you died with a mortal sin on your soul, and did not confess it, then grave things would happen to you. Is that a way to live?

The martha9 is concerned about her relationship with God, and all anyone has to say about it is that she will commit a mortal sin if she misses mass this once because of a field trip, unless she does all these thing to either get the dispensation from a priest or try to find a church wherever she is going. She is a teenager, and does not have the ability to make things happen that are around her.

I may be confusing things, but I feel that the answer is not just a yes or no ordeal, specifically in the case of a student. And that things need to be seen in context.

Firemadeflesh -

It is important to understand that our relationship with God is more important than anything on this earth. It is more important to honor your obligation to God than to go on a school field trip.

This young person, they need to know what rights they DO have. They have the right to freely practice their religion. That means the school cannot prohibit this teen from attending Mass. The school needs to make reasonable accomadation for the free practice of religion or they violate this student’s rights.

The parents should be involved. I am a parent. If my teen was to go on a school trip that required them to be gone all weekend, I would insist that reasonable attempts were made by the school to allow my teen to attend Mass. I would pay for a cab to pick my child up at the hotel and drop them off at Mass.

If that were impossible, it is likely that my teen would not go on the trip.

The teen DOES have the option of asking the Priest for a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass that Sunday.

Those are the three moral options for a Catholic.

Arrange to get to Mass on the trip
Get a dispensation to miss Mass during the trip
Skip the trip all together

One of these is do-able.

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