[quote="quiet52, post:1, topic:188659"]
I have a question for religious education teachers of children.
In your parish, at what age are children taught that missing Sunday Mass on purpose is a mortal sin? What are second and third graders taught, concretely (not generally), about mortal sins vs. venial sins?
So many of their parents don't consider missing Mass to be a mortal sin. Is "mortal sin" being discussed in any of your elementary or middle school religion education classes? Do your students past second grade go to Confession?
It depends on the class, but probably half of the kids making their first communion from religious education (as opposed to the parish school) don't continue on with religious education classes after that. I have no idea how many are home-schooled by their parents, but there are at least some. The older they get, the lower attendance becomes, primarily because of conflicts with sports schedules. Some do it because, frankly, they want a program that is a lot more rigorous.
We do talk about mortal sin in RE, but it is more in the context of saying that simply avoiding mortal sin and confessing it right away but doing nothing more is like being a driver who avoids running into concrete walls and always calls the paramedics when he's done so....that is, it should go without saying that avoiding mortal sin is vitally important, but it is also way, way below the minimum that is expected of us as Christians.
In spite of our pastor's regular entreaties during his homilies that the ALL of the faithful go to confession regularly--although the precept is annually, he says that as a confessor he feels that going at least once during Advent and Lent to prepare for Christmas and Easter is a MINIMUM--we have had students in our parish preparing for Confirmation who contended that they never made their First Confession, presumably because they hadn't been to confession since. Still, there are always kids with their parents in the confessional lines, and they need six or ten priests for the individual confessions at the parish reconciliation services, which is good!
It is sad that he needs to do this, but the pastor also tells kids during his homily at their First Communion, after telling them what a great privelege to be able to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, that they have his personal permission as their pastor to roll their parents out of bed, if they have to, in order to get to Mass every Sunday. Honestly, those kids know that if their parents won't get them there, the parents are going to have Father to answer to. He does not tell the kids that it is a mortal sin to fail to come, though, because that is out of their control at that point. If a third grader doesn't make it to Mass, that is the parents' fault.
As far as preaching about the obligation to go to church on Sundays, he does preach that. He spends about half of the time telling people that they have a serious obligation to come without fail, and the other half telling them that under no circumstances does he want to see someone who is obviously sick showing up and making everyone else sick, nor does he want to see people with no business driving or walking on a sheet of ice showing up for Mass when we get freezing rain. He says it always seems to be one or the other!