Question for Catholics: Will you really go to hell for deliberatly missing mass?


#1

I was just listening to James Akin and he said something that I wonder if it represents the Catholic concensus.

He said that if a person deliberately misses mass, this person would go to Hell since he committed a mortal sin.

This confuses me. Does this mean that a person could love and follow Christ his or her entire life with devotion and sencerity, but for some “invalid” reason deliberatly miss mass and end up in hell.

Please help me here. I thought that Catholics believed in salvation by grace. I don’t know if this is true–but a poll about “surprised by hell” on this web also seems to suggest that this is what Catholics believe forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=23173.

If this is true, how can this be grace (“a gift” or “unmerited favor”)? How is this not legalism?

Please help me.

Michael


#2

[quote=michaelp]I was just listening to James Akin and he said something that I wonder if it represents the Catholic concensus.

He said that if a person deliberately misses mass, this person would go to Hell since he committed a mortal sin.
[/quote]

Having committed a mortal sin does not necessarily mean a person is going to hell. One goes to hell by not having repented of mortal sins before one dies.

[quote=michaelp]This confuses me. Does this mean that a person could love and follow Christ his or her entire life with devotion and sencerity, but for some “invalid” reason deliberatly miss mass and end up in hell.
[/quote]

A Catholic (one who accepts that this is the one Church Christ founded) who follows Christ with devotion and sincerity his/her whole life would not, ex hypothesi, ever have deliberately missed Mass for an appropriate reason. Following Christ for a Catholic entails participating in the weekly communal worship, so to fail in one is to fail in the other. There are good reasons not to go to Mass on Sunday. But, simply because one doesn’t feel like it, is not one, and a Catholic cannot excuse him/herself lightly from it one’s Sunday obligation and still be considered faithful to Christ who instituted the Church.

[quote=michaelp]Please help me here. I thought that Catholics believed in salvation by grace. I don’t know if this is true–but a poll about “surprised by hell” on this web also seems to suggest that this is what Catholics believe forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=23173.

If this is true, how can this be grace (“a gift” or “unmerited favor”)? How is this not legalism?
[/quote]

The initial salvation does come through grace, but salvation can be lost, e.g. by making a deliberate choice against Christ and hus commandments (this is what mortal sins are). Catholics do not believe in “once saved, always saved.” We are to work out our salvation in this life, and this entails going to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.

[quote=michaelp]Please help me.

Michael
[/quote]

Hope this helps.


#3

It does help. But is the answer to the question, yes? A person could follow Christ his entire life and then have a bad day where maybe satan or his circumstances get the best of him and then miss mass and go to hell? And is this the Catholic concensus?


#4

[quote=michaelp]It does help. But is the answer to the question, yes? A person could follow Christ his entire life and then have a bad day where maybe satan or his circumstances get the best of him and then miss mass and go to hell? And is this the Catholic concensus?
[/quote]

Are you making the assumption that the person will not want to be forgiven,and not ask for forgiveness?


#5

A person who chooses not to go to Mass for the simple reason “they didn’t WANT to” - Has just committed a mortal sin - Which means they have just choosen their own will over the Will of God.

You can compare this to Adam when he choose to eat the apple God told him not too.

If you die in the state of Mortal sin - you go to hell … it’s that simple!

Thy Will - will be done … not yours!

Work out your salvation in love and fear of the Lord! Because He may be merciful but He is also all just. And I wouldn’t hesitate to believe that one who chooses his own will regarding Mass - also does it on a regular basis in other areas of his life.


#6

[quote=michaelp]It does help. But is the answer to the question, yes? A person could follow Christ his entire life and then have a bad day where maybe satan or his circumstances get the best of him and then miss mass and go to hell? And is this the Catholic concensus?
[/quote]

I suppose, but it seems an unlikely senario. I could be faithful and devoted to my wife for 20 years, but have one “bad day” and cheat on her, then get hit by a bus on my way home from the rendezvous and die with this unrepented mortal sin on my soul, and so go to hell. But it would be pretty out of character and unlikely that after 20 years of love and devotion I would be unfaithful. Is it possible, yes, likely, no. So it is unlikely a Catholic who followed Jesus with love and devotion would one day just skip Mass. Possible, but unlikely.


#7

[quote=michaelp]It does help. But is the answer to the question, yes? A person could follow Christ his entire life and then have a bad day where maybe satan or his circumstances get the best of him and then miss mass and go to hell? And is this the Catholic concensus?
[/quote]

There is a lovely book out there somewhere call “Saints in Hell”

This is why we pray to Mary “NOW and at the HOUR of our death”

It is important to remember the the greatest hour of your life is the hour of your death - and the state of your soul at that hour. Up until the very last second the devil is trying to get you to commit mortal sin. And he is strongest in your last hour.

That is why we pray to Mary to be with us.

Loving Christ your whole entire life… is NOT enough. Tough but true.


#8

[quote=michaelp]It does help. But is the answer to the question, yes? A person could follow Christ his entire life and then have a bad day where maybe satan or his circumstances get the best of him and then miss mass and go to hell? And is this the Catholic concensus?
[/quote]

It is most unlikely that someone who followed Christ his entire life would commit a mortal sin, even though it could happen. Having a “bad day” where “circumstances get the best of him” does not indicate to me that a mortal sin is likely to be committed - remember, besides the grave matter (missing Mass without a valid reason) it is necessary for there also to be full knowledge and full and free consent. Now, the person most likely has full knowledge, since he has been folloiwng Christ his entire life, but, under the circumstances he may not be capable of giving free and full consent. Therefore, the culpability is likely to be mitigated, meaning that he is more likely to be guilty of venial sin rather than mortal sin.

The person who commits mortal sin by missing Mass without a valid reason is more likely to be the person who is “lukewarm” about his religion, and doesn’t really care whether or not he is commiting sin.


#9

[quote=Lisa4Catholics]Are you making the assumption that the person will not want to be forgiven,and not ask for forgiveness?
[/quote]

Yes. Sometimes I do this. I get mad a God or confused for a short time. Everyone I know does. I may be in denial about my sin. I may not have time to be forgiven. I could die in a car accident or of a heart attack at this time. What then? I go to hell?

It just seems so odd to think that God would be so trivial, just because I deliberately miss Mass. Every time I sin, I do it with some degree of deliberation. This really seems like legalism to me. It does not display grace or mercy at all.

All this said only if it is true that Catholics really believe this. I have not recieved a clear answer to this point yet.


#10

[quote=aridite]I suppose, but it seems an unlikely senario. I could be faithful and devoted to my wife for 20 years, but have one “bad day” and cheat on her, then get hit by a bus on my way home from the rendezvous and die with this unrepented mortal sin on my soul, and so go to hell. But it would be pretty out of character and unlikely that after 20 years of love and devotion I would be unfaithful. Is it possible, yes, likely, no. So it is unlikely a Catholic who followed Jesus with love and devotion would one day just skip Mass. Possible, but unlikely.
[/quote]

So you would equate the seriousness of missing Mass to adultury?


#11

Michael ,what you might see as legalism is not legalism for Catholics,The Eucharist is Jesus and so by skipping Mass we are skipping Jesus.With your scenerio and the devil just got the best of the person as with other mortal sins,they are probably miserable and saying the act of contrition and meaning it,until they can get to the sacrament of confession.One thing I think you might be missing in the responses is unrepented:) God Bless


#12

[quote=Rara Avis]There is a lovely book out there somewhere call “Saints in Hell”

This is why we pray to Mary “NOW and at the HOUR of our death”

It is important to remember the the greatest hour of your life is the hour of your death - and the state of your soul at that hour. Up until the very last second the devil is trying to get you to commit mortal sin. And he is strongest in your last hour.

That is why we pray to Mary to be with us.

Loving Christ your whole entire life… is NOT enough. Tough but true.
[/quote]

This is going to sound crazy, but I have to ask.

If this is true and people can live their whole life devoted to Christ and then one day Satan gets the best of them and they don’t go to Mass because they are angry with God and they go to hell, then the best service that I can perform is to stand at the confessional booth with a gun and shoot everyone who comes out. Yes, I would go to hell, but I would just be like Paul who wishes himself accured for the sake of the brethren (Rom 9:1-2). Maybe they would have a short life, but at least they would go to heaven. What is the problem with this crazy senerio?


#13

[quote=michaelp]Yes. Sometimes I do this. I get mad a God or confused for a short time. Everyone I know does. I may be in denial about my sin. I may not have time to be forgiven. I could die in a car accident or of a heart attack at this time. What then? I go to hell?

It just seems so odd to think that God would be so trivial, just because I deliberately miss Mass. Every time I sin, I do it with some degree of deliberation. This really seems like legalism to me. It does not display grace or mercy at all.

All this said only if it is true that Catholics really believe this. I have not recieved a clear answer to this point yet.
[/quote]

Character counts. The kind of person one has chosen to be through all of the little choices in one’s life does make a difference. It would have to be a horrendously bad day for a faithful husband to cheat, so much so that there are probably mitigating circumstances as Joan M has said. So with the faithful Catholic who just blows off Mass. I really have a hard time conceiving it. One who has a character that is inclined to ask forgiveness for sins also makes a difference, and I like to think there’s a last chance for perfect contrition in the last moment of life. Since we have never been to that point, we don’t know. But it is kind of legalistic to look simply at each act in isolation and try to figure out if it is a mortal sin or not. Mortal sin, as the name suggest, are pretty big deals and do not just happen, especially not to someone who has been following Christ their whole life. Could a Christian commit one? Sure, but it would have to be clearly deliberate and understood.


#14

[quote=Lisa4Catholics]Michael ,what you might see as legalism is not legalism for Catholics,The Eucharist is Jesus and so by skipping Mass we are skipping Jesus.With your scenerio and the devil just got the best of the person as with other mortal sins,they are probably miserable and saying the act of contrition and meaning it,until they can get to the sacrament of confession.One thing I think you might be missing in the responses is unrepented:) God Bless
[/quote]

Lisa, all you are saying to me is that it is not the missing of Mass that is the mortal sin, but leaving the faith. While I have issues with this, it is much easier to accept than saying is someone delibertly misses mass they have committed a moral sin and are going to hell. So, what you are saying is that the Catholic postition is that leaving the faith is the mortal sin and this is evidenced by missing mass. And anytime someone delibertly misses mass they have definitely left the faith?

This would be much easier to understand since they have committed the sin of apostacy. But if it is just missing the mass and not apostacy, this really smells of legalism.


#15

Uh-oh! I’m going to Hell then 'cause I didn’t go to Christmas Eve service Mass!!! :confused: I am not Catholic yet (as most of you know, I’m in the Inquiry class in the RCIA) though I freak out since I might convert!

The reason I didn’t go was I went to my parent’s house instead to be with them for Christmas. Plus, my mother had surgery on her arm/shoulder and wanted to see her. And, to be quite honest, I didn’t feel like going because since I’m not Catholic, I can’t take the Eucharist so why bother then? I know that’s a dumb excuse to say and such. In fact, we all didn’t go to ANY church service the 24th! Besides, I don’t think I can go to a Protestant church if I’m to convert! :o

Now what? I’m going to hell too then! :eek:


#16

Character counts. The kind of person one has chosen to be through all of the little choices in one’s life does make a difference. It would have to be a horrendously bad day for a faithful husband to cheat, so much so that there are probably mitigating circumstances as Joan M has said. So with the faithful Catholic who just blows off Mass.

Would you also equate adultury with missing mass? Really?? Doesn’t that sound odd? They are not even in the same universe to me? (But, as you might say, that is just my interpretation;) )


#17

[quote=michaelp]Would you also equate adultury with missing mass? Doesn’t that sound odd?
[/quote]

Nope, they are both mortal sins and unrepented mortal sin damns the soul.

We do not play the “well this sin is worse than that sin” game. Mortal Sin is Mortal Sin and unrepented Mortal Sin damns the soul to Hell.

Why is that so hard to understand?


#18

[quote=ByzCath]Nope, they are both mortal sins and unrepented mortal sin damns the soul.

We do not play the “well this sin is worse than that sin” game. Mortal Sin is Mortal Sin and unrepented Mortal Sin damns the soul to Hell.

Why is that so hard to understand?
[/quote]

Because I have a really hard time equating missing mass with eternal hell. Don’t you understand?


#19

[quote=michaelp]This is going to sound crazy, but I have to ask.

If this is true and people can live their whole life devoted to Christ and then one day Satan gets the best of them and they don’t go to Mass because they are angry with God and they go to hell, then the best service that I can perform is to stand at the confessional booth with a gun and shoot everyone who comes out. Yes, I would go to hell, but I would just be like Paul who wishes himself accured for the sake of the brethren (Rom 9:1-2). Maybe they would have a short life, but at least they would go to heaven. What is the problem with this crazy senerio?
[/quote]

God understands are human nature better than we do,do you not think if God knew(which he does) that we would come around and repent he would not give us the grace if we were going to be smashed by the semi later that day?We do not want to presume on his mercy lest we become lukewarm or hard hearted.We know he is all mercifull and all just and all loving missing Mass for no good reason is a slap in Our Lords face.Will he forgive us yes,if we are sorry.The scenerio that you had even with how you work sometimes, which I am sure all of us has done while having a fit with the Lord because we don’t understand His ways he knows our hearts, and we know he will deal with us justly.God Bless


#20

[quote=michaelp]So you would equate the seriousness of missing Mass to adultury?
[/quote]

EQUATE it to the seriousness … It is ten times worse.
You are talking about being unfaithful to GOD verses being unfaithful to a human … Don’t get me wrong adultery is a MORTAL sin - but if you look at the Ten Commandments - missing Mass is quite a bit higher up.

I would say that most people do not understand God - If you are devout to your spouse it is because you are devout to God - not the other way around.

In your comments you are schlacking Mass off as something trivial … IT IS NOT and that in itself speaks volumes.


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