Sunday obligation fulfilled?

I arrived at Sunday Mass today during the Gloria. Let’s say it was my own fault. Did I fulfill my obligation?

It is actually up to you to decide that. The Church has no offical position on when it is “too late” to arrive. So, it is up to you to decide whether you fulfilled it or not.

This is something to address with your pastor.

Where was your heart?

Yeah, talk to your pastor, but don’t antis hover it in the mean time (“let tomorrow worry about itself”).

I’m not offering excuses, keep in mind there are many people present at the mass from the introductory rites through the conclusion, may have failed to meet there obligation because their heart was not in the proper disposition.

Peace and all good!


There is no required “disposition” to attend Mass and meet your obligation. Being properly disposed applies to the reception of the Sacraments, not to Mass attendance.

That’s pretty much how the Pharisees, if they were modern day Catholics, would probably feel about it too:shrug:

What does that even mean? :shrug:

The Sunday obligation if fulfilled by attending Mass.

One may commit a sin by willfully refusing to pay attention at Mass. But committing that sin does not mean that your obligation is not fulfilled.

One does not need to be “properly disposed” to attend Mass. There is no such sin as “I attended Mass when I was not properly disposed.” EVERYONE is welcome at Mass.

What does any of this have to do with the Pharisees?

Going through the motions to appear to be doing what is righteous is as bad as not doing anything that truly is righteous.

Going to Mass is not to get your attendance card stamped to verify your obligation. After all, “we lift up our hearts to the Lord” because “It is right and just”, and not just because its in the rubrics!

What does any of this have to do with the Pharisees?

The warning Jesus lovingly gave people in the first verse below, is applicable not only the acts in the subsequent verses, but is equally applicable to our disposition at Mass.

Matthew 5: 20
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 6:5
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men.

Matthew 6:7
“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Matthew 6:16
“And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward.

And of course, everyone is welcome to the Mass…but for worship and glorification of God, not for entertainment, something to do, or because we feel “we have to”!

Going through the motions to appear to be doing what is righteous is *just *when it is in accord with the Gospel, because it avoids giving scandal to the weak. Scandal is given based upon appearances.

Three types of scandal:
*] Simple: a person commits an act against the law of God and another person follows the bad example.
*] Scandal of the little ones: an uneducated or young Catholic is passively scandalized by what he wrongly perceives to be a sin. (St. Paul e.g., eating meat sacrificed to idols.) – We have a moral obligation to quit the scandalous act once we know it is scandalizing someone.
*] Pharisaical scandal: imparting false doctrine by an *innocent *action (Luke 12: 9 But he that shall deny me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God.) – We have a duty to persist doing good even though the wicked are scandalized by it, because the pursuit of the good in adherence to the Gospel.



There is nothing wrong with going to Mass out of simple obedience. There is no minimum participation requirement in order for the Mass to “count”. Of course, if you went there ONLY so that people would see you and you would appear to be a “good Catholic” that would be hypocritical. Also, as I mentioned above, to willfully refuse to pay attention could be sinful. But there are lots of things that keep people from being fully engaged - everything from grief to fatigue to tending to small children.

And of course, everyone is welcome to the Mass…but for worship and glorification of God, not for entertainment, something to do, or because we feel “we have to”!

Actually people doing all of those things are very welcome at Mass. As long as someone doesn’t come to Mass to be disruptive, it’s a good thing they are there.

We should, but often we don’t. Faith or repentance sometimes begins as obligation or fear. There is no shame in that. It’s a start. If we find ourselves heading to Confession only because we don’t want to go to Hell, then we have a mustard-seed worth of contrition already. Sure, we should go to Confession because we love God and are sorry for offending Him, but perfect contrition is hard to achieve and God realizes this. In the same way, children often begin attending Mass because their parents say so. They might continue doing so only because Church law says so. Through worthy reception of the Eucharist and other sacraments, through preaching, and through the good examples of fellow parishioners whom they meet, it is possible that their hearts undergo conversion and they begin loving the Mass and attending because they couldn’t imagine anything better. But in order for these things to happen, for them to have any effect, we have to step through the door in the first place. And often that comes from a sense of fear or obligation. People scorn and mock Catholic guilt and say it is the realm of mean old nuns with rulers, but a healthy conscience is always cognizant of the Four Last Things and what it takes to be ready for our final judgements.

My heart did not want to miss any part of Mass, but I allowed myself to get distracted doing little things at home, even though I knew the time was getting late. I got there probably 5-7 minutes after Mass began.

I’ve decided that it was probably a venial sin, will confess it next weekend, and will try harder to arrive early in the future.

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