Sunday Mass Obligation


#1

Why does the Catholic Church make not going to mass on Sunday a mortal sin?

This question may have been answer before but my search didn't bring up an answer that I found met the problem I am running into. I have a freind who is a "sometimes" Catholic (complex story). He has what I call "simple faith". The only things that matter are a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and LOVE. As an example, if questioned about the importance of the virgin birth his reply is "why do I need to care about it?". He feels that The Church making not going to mass on Sunday a mortal sin is reverting back to "THE LAW" and Jesus did away with "THE LAW" and replaced it with LOVE. And if we really had a relationship with Jesus we would not need to be "FORCED" to go to mass because we would be filled with the Holy Spirit and be "perfect" in Christ and go out of LOVE. So The Church would not need to hang the sword of mortal sin over our heads and FORCE us to go to mass on Sunday. SO, why does The Church hand the sword over our heads?


#2

The Church does not hold a sword over anybody's head, but going to mass on Sunday is an important discipline of the Catholic Church that goes back to the time of the apostles.


#3

First of all Jesus said what the Church binds and looses is bound and loosed in heaven. Meaning that if it says something is important enough to be a matter of sinning if we don't do it (like going to Mass) it is because He thinks it is important enough to be a matter of sin if we don't do it too.

Jesus thought we must go beyond the law, true, but that doesn't mean He thought law was unimportant - far from it. In the Gospel at the weekend's Mass He restates for the rich young man that obedience to the ten commandments (including the one to keep holy the Sabbath, which is one purpose of Mass) is an essential part of achieving eternal life. And note that it is when the young man speaks of having been devoted to the law - the commandments - and kept them since his youth that the Gospel says Jesus looked at him and loved him for it.

Your friend needs to read some of the beautiful verses in the Psalms in praise of God's law - he would soon see that those who see setting laws as a matter of 'force' are sadly mistaken, and that it goes well beyond that.


#4

[quote="poche, post:2, topic:301944"]
The Church does not hold a sword over anybody's head, but going to mass on Sunday is an important discipline of the Catholic Church that goes back to the time of the apostles.

[/quote]

Of course it does. It is in canon law.


#5

[quote="The_Wizard, post:1, topic:301944"]
Why does the Catholic Church make not going to mass on Sunday a mortal sin?

This question may have been answer before but my search didn't bring up an answer that I found met the problem I am running into. I have a freind who is a "sometimes" Catholic (complex story). He has what I call "simple faith". The only things that matter are a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and LOVE. As an example, if questioned about the importance of the virgin birth his reply is "why do I need to care about it?". He feels that The Church making not going to mass on Sunday a mortal sin is reverting back to "THE LAW" and Jesus did away with "THE LAW" and replaced it with LOVE. And if we really had a relationship with Jesus we would not need to be "FORCED" to go to mass because we would be filled with the Holy Spirit and be "perfect" in Christ and go out of LOVE. So The Church would not need to hang the sword of mortal sin over our heads and FORCE us to go to mass on Sunday. SO, why does The Church hand the sword over our heads?

[/quote]

Your sometimes Catholic friend has seemly fallen into the popular thinking that all i need is Jesus and don't need religion. The problem with this thinking is that it is not taught anywhere is scripture. It is feel good goop and in the long run mean nothing. We as part and practice of our faith need to go at least on Sunday to mass. We need to receive that body and blood of Christ, we need to listen to the scripture read in the liturgy of the word.
We need to get together with our fellow believers. We don't have a lone ranger faith or belief. Jesus came to establish His Church. If your friend thinks that he doesn't have to be forced to do anything, he is not reading scripture and he is fallen into serious error, thinking he has the Holy Spirit. If he doesn't come to receive the body and blood of Christ, he doesn't have life within him. The Church requires this because we all need to go. It is for our good and benefit.


#6

Not attending Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation is grave matter. If it is done with full knowledge and full intent, it is a mortal sin.


#7

You will not go to hell for not going to mass, but it is something you should confess.

The sacraments are not necessary for eternal life either.

Both are will help you, though.
BTW after he told the Lord that the Lord told him that he should then give away all his possessions. That made him sad because he had many.


#8

[quote="The_Wizard, post:1, topic:301944"]
Why does the Catholic Church make not going to mass on Sunday a mortal sin?

This question may have been answer before but my search didn't bring up an answer that I found met the problem I am running into. I have a freind who is a "sometimes" Catholic (complex story). He has what I call "simple faith". The only things that matter are a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and LOVE. As an example, if questioned about the importance of the virgin birth his reply is "why do I need to care about it?". He feels that The Church making not going to mass on Sunday a mortal sin is reverting back to "THE LAW" and Jesus did away with "THE LAW" and replaced it with LOVE. And if we really had a relationship with Jesus we would not need to be "FORCED" to go to mass because we would be filled with the Holy Spirit and be "perfect" in Christ and go out of LOVE. So The Church would not need to hang the sword of mortal sin over our heads and FORCE us to go to mass on Sunday. SO, why does The Church hand the sword over our heads?

[/quote]

It would be nice if we weren't subject to concupiscence and other travails of the world and the flesh, no?

But we are. Just as a man who really loves his wife could still be tempted to be unfaithful to her, so can we be tempted to neglect God. The man who understands that he might be tempted will set up certain rules for himself and not rely solely on his love for his wife, will he? He will make sure he actively avoids temptations.

In the same way, the Church understands that a lot of people need help in their journey to God. One of these helps is to point out certain aspects of our relationship that are required in order to accomplish our aim of loving God. The *ideal *is to be filled with love for God and *want *to go to Mass, but some of us are not there yet, or may be suffering a cross or going through a dark night.

For all those who need a little extra help getting to Mass on Sundays, there is the obligation. On 6 days of the week, we do not have to go to Mass, but on the 7th, we must join with others to worship God because it is very important to the building up of our love for Him.

It is frequently the case that someone goes through a phase like your friend's; they wonder how anyone could be any different? But then God allows something to happen, and they see the necessity.


#9

It really bothers me when people say that all they need is a personal relationship with Jesus, and yet they ignore the Church's doctrine. How can we have a personal relationship with someone and yet ignore all the information about them? Do we start dating someone and tell them, "Please don't share with me any information about yourself, your family, or where you came from. I just want to grow in my relationship with you"? No. And yet all too often that's exactly what we do to Jesus.

Mary's perpetual virginity is important precisely because of what it tells us about Jesus. If we want to deepen our personal relationship with Jesus and come to know who He truly is (instead of just seeing Him as basically a reflection of ourselves), then we absolutely need to grow in our knowledge and understanding of all that "doctrine".

The Church makes going to Mass on Sunday an obligation because She knows that we need to spend time with Jesus in order to establish a relationship with him. Further, we need to spend time in the community of the Church. We are all one human family, one Body in Christ. We cannot be Christians apart from the Church. We are not Christians in a vaccuum. No man is an island.


#10

"Rmember to keep holy the sabbath day."

The Church has been given the authority to interpret that commandment, and has established the bare minimum of doing that as attending Mass. Quite simple actually. :shrug:


#11

[quote="Joe_5859, post:9, topic:301944"]

The Church makes going to Mass on Sunday an obligation because She knows that we need to spend time with Jesus in order to establish a relationship with him.

[/quote]

My freind's answer to this is if you REALLY LOVED Jesus there would be no need for an obligation. Just like if I REALLY loved my wife I should not have to be FORCED by the threat of the loss my eternal soul, to spend time with her. If you go to mass on Sunday because The Church says you have to or you go to hell it is worst than not going at all. My freind's thouhgts NOT mine.


#12

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:6, topic:301944"]
Not attending Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation is grave matter. If it is done with full knowledge and full intent, it is a mortal sin.

[/quote]

I would submit to you that attending Mass on Sunday or any Holy Day solely out of obligation might also be a grave matter. Not attending Mass to joyfully enter into the Heavenly Liturgy from earth seems a breech of the First Commandment.


#13

[quote="The_Wizard, post:11, topic:301944"]
My freind's answer to this is if you REALLY LOVED Jesus there would be no need for an obligation. Just like if I REALLY loved my wife I should not have to be FORCED by the threat of the loss my eternal soul, to spend time with her. If you go to mass on Sunday because The Church says you have to or you go to hell it is worst than not going at all. My freind's thouhgts NOT mine.

[/quote]

Has your friend ever really been in a committed relationship or marriage? Sorry to be blunt, but that sounds like rationalization from someone who has never been in that type of relationship. Even in the best, loving relationships there will be dry periods and spells where we will perform our duty of commitment out of obligation, respecting the vow we made. There will be times that we would be rather doing something else but we do this for our spouse because of love and sometimes the "obligation" gets us off our keester. It's part of human nature.

Your friend has an idealistic, and I would say unrealistic view of married life and this in turn in clouding his view of a relationship with God.

If that can happen in the best of our human relationships because of our humanity, how do you think we stack up against the everlasting, continual love of God!


#14

Answer is simple: People can't just love Jesus Christ the way they want it.

John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."


#15

[quote="FaithInTheSon, post:7, topic:301944"]
You will not go to hell for not going to mass, but it is something you should confess.

[/quote]

No one knows this but the Father. It is possible to go to Hell for missing Mass, just as it is possible to go to Hell for an unrepented mortal sin, which is why confession is so important.

[quote="FaithInTheSon, post:7, topic:301944"]
The sacraments are not necessary for eternal life either. Both are will help you, though.

[/quote]

The sacraments are the ordinary ways for a Catholic to attain Heaven, but keep in mind missing Mass is a violation of the third commandment to keep holy the sabbath.

[quote="FaithInTheSon, post:7, topic:301944"]
BTW after he told the Lord that the Lord told him that he should then give away all his possessions. That made him sad because he had many.

[/quote]

True, but sorry I don't see how that dovetails into missing Mass.


#16

See the following video, especially starting at about 2:00: youtu.be/8Nprg5Ew6Mo

It's not the Church's "law." It's God's law. Keep Holy the Sabbath. That means what the Church says it means, not what you rationalize it to mean for your own desires.


#17

[quote="FaithInTheSon, post:7, topic:301944"]
You will not go to hell for not going to mass, but it is something you should confess.

The sacraments are not necessary for eternal life either.

Both are will help you, though.
BTW after he told the Lord that the Lord told him that he should then give away all his possessions. That made him sad because he had many.

[/quote]

Both of your statements are misleading.

If you cannot go to Mass or don't know the Church's teaching that is one thing. But not fulfilling the Sunday obligation is grave matter. For a mortal sin you need full consent, grave matter and knowledge. If all these have been met then the sin is mortal. If the sin is mortal you are at risk of Hell. You cannot die in mortal sin and go to heaven. This is the teaching of the Church. It always has been.

As for the sacraments. They are the ordinary means to eternal life in heaven. To tell someone they do not need the sacraments is like saying you dont need a spaceship to get to the moon. The spaceship is the ordinary means to get there. There may be some other way but it is irresponsible to go around telling others that very important things are not necessary.

The Church does not define anyone to be in hell. For good reason. The Church does define how to get to heaven as it has been revealed to us. What authority do you have to make a statement such as

You will not go to hell for not going to mass,

That is at best something you do not have the authority to proclaim and at worst something that is irresponsible to say.


#18

[quote="The_Wizard, post:11, topic:301944"]
My freind's answer to this is if you REALLY LOVED Jesus there would be no need for an obligation. Just like if I REALLY loved my wife I should not have to be FORCED by the threat of the loss my eternal soul, to spend time with her. If you go to mass on Sunday because The Church says you have to or you go to hell it is worst than not going at all. My freind's thouhgts NOT mine.

[/quote]

If poeple really loved God, there would be no reason for the ten commandments, would there (of which missing Mass violates the third), but God did give them to us even though He knows there are those who really love Him. What are we to make of this? That God values actions above words and because He desires we all be saved He tells us exactly what actions we are to take to show our love for Him. And He left us a Church to tell us what those actions should be.

So, when God's Church tells us that we are to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation to fulfill God's desire as He handed down in the commandment, it is not forcing us to do anything. It (the Church) is telling us, as any good parent, what we need to do and laying out the consequences God has laid down if we do not. We go to Church not out of fear of going to Hell but out of thankfulness that God has given us this Sacrament of His love for us.


#19

[quote="FaithInTheSon, post:7, topic:301944"]
You will not go to hell for not going to mass, but it is something you should confess.

The sacraments are not necessary for eternal life either.

Both are will help you, though.
BTW after he told the Lord that the Lord told him that he should then give away all his possessions. That made him sad because he had many.

[/quote]

If, with full intent and knowledge, you do not go to Mass on a day of obligation--Holy Day or Sunday--you have committed a mortal sin. If you die in a state of unrepentant mortal sin, you go to hell. This is basic Catholic teaching.


#20

[quote="The_Wizard, post:1, topic:301944"]
Why does the Catholic Church make not going to mass on Sunday a mortal sin?

This question may have been answer before but my search didn't bring up an answer that I found met the problem I am running into. I have a freind who is a "sometimes" Catholic (complex story). He has what I call "simple faith". The only things that matter are a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and LOVE. As an example, if questioned about the importance of the virgin birth his reply is "why do I need to care about it?". He feels that The Church making not going to mass on Sunday a mortal sin is reverting back to "THE LAW" and Jesus did away with "THE LAW" and replaced it with LOVE. And if we really had a relationship with Jesus we would not need to be "FORCED" to go to mass because we would be filled with the Holy Spirit and be "perfect" in Christ and go out of LOVE. So The Church would not need to hang the sword of mortal sin over our heads and FORCE us to go to mass on Sunday. SO, why does The Church hand the sword over our heads?

[/quote]

This is something that I have dealt with before as well. I dont think it does any good to go around quoting Church law or even Church logic or authority in this case. I have found that the best way to go about this is to point out that historically we were to honor God. The way the earliest Christians did this was to go to Mass with the risk and sometimes result of death. Even today there are people who risk death to attend Mass. Jesus himself set up the Mass and the Church. If one hour a week is too much to ask then we are throwing the suffering of Jesus and the Saints out the window and treating it with disrespect. That is a pretty big statement of someone's ego. I know better than the people who have died for something I couldn't care less for. I know better than God himself on how to honor and worship him.

Sounds pretty bad when you put it in the proper context huh?


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