Not eating as a family


Would it be a mortal venial or no sin at all to not have dinner as a family? My family rarely eats together, but it’s not like there is a lot of tension or anything. We just…don’t.

I’m inclined to say no sin, an imperfection. Maybe venial?


I’ve never heard of it being a sin, why do you ask?


It’s not sinful, simply unwise.


For it to be a sin it would have to be against church teaching, the 10 commandments or something. How do you think not eating as a family does that?

Eating together as a family has many benefits and I hope your family can plan on a few meals eaten together. In my later teens I did not eat at the table and my mom allowed it because of tension. When I was a nanny, dinner was the main meal eaten together and I missed it when the parents changed dinner time so they were getting home just as it was being served. Their arrival home signaled my off-time and while I could have eaten with them I usually chose to leave, which I kind of regret. Kids learn social skills and part of it was sharing their day and listening to others. It was also a time for deep questions from a 10 (-15) year old philosopher (“Bruised Reed…what’s the meaning of life?”) :D, through which I learned humility. :slight_smile:


The family meal,oftentimes is the only time during the day where a family can come together.
I realize with the hectic schedules of both working parents,after school activities,this may seem next to impossible. Make it a priority ,you won’t regret it.:wink:


We meet Christ at the table in Mass. The table is the centerpiece of family life. This is where children learn your take on various issues and you can discuss things amicably rather than “on the fly”. The family dinner table is where we bring our disappointments, trials, triumphs, hopes and dreams to each other. Not in passing or via text message. It makes sense to make a big effort to use this time wisely, and cherish the time together. It’s over all too soon.
So many times in the Gospels, Christ says “get me something to eat.” He understood that when you break bread together it’s a profound experience of love, acceptance, and fruitful dialog. :thumbsup:




We ate as a family until my sons hit teens and tried to find any excuse not to go through that mealtime drilling about their day by Mum. I used to feel like something big was lost when that started to be the norm. Not as in sinful, but as in disappointing.

My husband and I mostly sit in front of the 6 o’clock news with dinner now.

I used to do the Sunday roast lunch regularly which everyone loved. None of the kids are normally around for that now but I still cook it in the morning and cover all the plates with foil in the fridge. The kids help themselves when they get home. Then I load 4 plates in the car and my husband drive to my parents and heat it up in the microwave. My parents love that because they don’t do roast anymore only being the two of them. Circle of life or dinnertime I guess.


Maybe as the weather gets cooler and people are indoors more, you could schedule a sit down dinner at least once / week?


Not a sin, but nevertheless families should make the time whenever possible to share those quality times together.


I don’t think it is sin, even venial sin.
You can as a start institute a family meal once week. Get the kids involved in the meal.preparation too and the cleanup afterward.

As someone with Asperger’s, the weekly family meal was the best place for me to learn social.skills and basic etiquette. I also learned to do cooking, baking and basic chores.

It the point where my siblings and I did the grocery shopping, meal prep and cleanup all by ourselves without.our parents involvement. My parents just sat back and relaxed.


I figure, why not? :shrug:


Well, what would be the unholy action here? This is something that one can logically come to the correct conclusion on.


Potentially weakening family bonds. So I could see it possibly as a venial sin (although the unanimous responses have me thinking otherwise), or more likely an imperfection (if anything).


Well, as I said before, Mass, and meeting Christ at the table is where we solidify and engage our relationship with Jesus.
So, it makes sense, that as a Domestic Church, the home table should be a similar place for interaction and good relationships.
It’s about setting aside time for each other. Time that is not spent on phones or internet, or with a nose in a book or a washing machine.
We can’t say we care unless we look into each other’s eyes and share. What makes a good marriage also makes a good family. Talk, sharing, compassion, the gift of love and forgiveness. You can get it all there at the table.

It’s not an occasion of sin so much, as it is a place to avoid the things that lead us to sin…(and teach against them) and the things that separate us, physically and spiritually.
Peace to you!


I don’t think so. You can build a family bond doing other activities together - it doesn’t have to be at the dinner table. Not to mention that I fail to see how weakening family bonds would in itself be a sin either. :confused:


Family bonding doesn’t have to be over a dinner table, but it’s a tried and true way to do it, even id done irregularly.

*Intentionally *weakening family bonds underminds the concept of family and the Domestic Church, so I can see where *choosing *to never do anything together could be a sin of omission. It’s like the Catholic who does only his Easter duty: he’s covered, but is it really what the Lord deserves?

We also have to be sensitive to the family dynamics and schedules before we start labeling things as sins.

It wouldn’t be in the best interest of my family not to have together time at dinner, although we have other activities we can do together. It would not be the best choice for closeness and growing if we came home and went into our rooms with a Swanson TV Dinner. We’d be cohabitating, but not fully living together.

Will there be nights like that in my house? No doubt – especially as my boys become teenagers! :stuck_out_tongue:

Mind you, I’m not of the school of thought that the family has to spend every minute together. But it’s important to get to know each other as persons within their familial roles. Because of schedules, it seems one of the last ways we can get together is over dinner, or Saturday lunch. (Yes, we go to Mass together, but that isn’t the time or place to get to know what’s going on in each other’s lives.)

I think there’s an Examination of Conscience out there that goes over “Duties as Parents per the 4th Commandment” and the CCC -2233 has a fair treatment of this subject. The Catechism doesn’t expressly outline each detail of raising children, but if family meals work to reinforce that “[t]he home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities,” then family meal time (again, depending on schedules) is a pretty good way to reinforce this precept.


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