Unintentionally late for Mass/mortal sin?


#1

Since today is a holy day of obligation, I planned to attend Mass at a nearby parish at 6:30pm. This is not my regular parish, but I have been attending Mass there frequently (a couple of times a month) for the past several months and the evening mass (for Sundays, weekdays and holy days of obligation) has always been at 6:30pm. In fact, I attended the Sunday evening mass there two weeks ago, and there was no announcement of any upcoming changes.

However, they change the evening mass to 5:30pm during the winter, evidently, when the time changes. (I'm in Europe and we turned our clocks back last week, but I went to Mass at another parish last Sunday.) I found out this evening when I showed up at 6:30 and everyone was already lined up for communion! This change wasn't listed online, and I didn't even see it posted anywhere in the church - it must just be something that regular members of the parish just know.

I wasn't quite sure what to do, so I just joined the Communion line. I had to make a fast decision, obviously, and I hadn't intended to show up so late. Had I known about the change, I would have shown up at 5:30. There aren't any parishes in my area that have evening masses that start after 6:30, so getting to another mass isn't an option.

Have I committed a mortal sin by taking Communion?


#2

If you truely believed and looked into the time of a Mass and somehow its different despite your best efforts - no its not a sin.


#3

In order for it to be a mortal sin, you have to have make a conscious decision to engage in the act. Since this was accidental, I don't think it would count.


#4

perla_m,

A similar thing happened to me some time ago. I was late to the last Mass I was aware of, partly due to misjudging the time required to drive there. (When I walked in the doors, I was literally standing at the end of the Communion line.)

Regarding the obligation to assist in the Mass, you missed it, though accidentally. It seems you did everything reasonable to ensure you would meet it so there is no sin there.

Regarding receiving Communion, I don't think there is a problem. We regularly send the Eucharist to the homebound and others who are incapable of assisting in the Mass. The only time I am aware that we are required to (if receiving) receive only during the Mass is if it is our second reception of Communion in a calendar day.

Since it bothers you, go ahead and mention it during your next Confession. I doubt you need to seek it out right away on account of this, however.


#5

No it would not be a mortal sin


#6

[quote="perla_m, post:1, topic:303770"]
Since today is a holy day of obligation, I planned to attend Mass at a nearby parish at 6:30pm. This is not my regular parish, but I have been attending Mass there frequently (a couple of times a month) for the past several months and the evening mass (for Sundays, weekdays and holy days of obligation) has always been at 6:30pm. In fact, I attended the Sunday evening mass there two weeks ago, and there was no announcement of any upcoming changes.

However, they change the evening mass to 5:30pm during the winter, evidently, when the time changes. (I'm in Europe and we turned our clocks back last week, but I went to Mass at another parish last Sunday.) I found out this evening when I showed up at 6:30 and everyone was already lined up for communion! This change wasn't listed online, and I didn't even see it posted anywhere in the church - it must just be something that regular members of the parish just know.

I wasn't quite sure what to do, so I just joined the Communion line. I had to make a fast decision, obviously, and I hadn't intended to show up so late. Had I known about the change, I would have shown up at 5:30. There aren't any parishes in my area that have evening masses that start after 6:30, so getting to another mass isn't an option.

Have I committed a mortal sin by taking Communion?

[/quote]

It is not a mortal sin to be late for Mass unintentionally or even intentionally (though this is disrespectful).


#7

Thanks for these responses - very helpful.

There is something else that started bothering me, though. It has to do with the Communion fast. In the early evening, before Mass, I was making jam and I tasted it a couple of times while I heated it on the stove. I remembered the fast and checked my watch the last time - it was about 5:30pm. (But it may have been 5:27, or 5:32, etc…) Thinking that I had a full hour before Mass even started, I didn’t pay attention to the time down to the minute.

When I got to the Mass, and Communion was already in progress, it was about 6:30. (But it may have been, say 6:26, etc…) I thought of the fast and glanced at my watch, saw that about an hour had passed since I had tasted the jam and figured that it was fine to join the Communion line. I wasn’t sure if I had really fasted for 60 whole minutes - it is quite possible that I did, but it is also quite possible that I only fasted for, say 55 minutes, or 58 minutes. I decided (again, I really only had a minute or two to try to make a decision, so I couldn’t really think through it) that it wouldn’t be a problem, since I had possibly fasted for 60 whole minutes, and if I hadn’t, I was really only off by a couple of minutes. I was actually more worried about the fact that I had shown up late for the Mass at that point.

Normally, I’m very careful to keep at least the one-hour fast and often observe the three and 12 hour fasts. However, in this situation I was caught by surprise and wasn’t really clear on what to do if, say, I wasn’t absolutely sure that I had fasted for exactly 60 minutes. Had I known (or even suspected) that I had only fasted for 50 minutes, for example, I would not have taken Communion. But I thought, well, if I haven’t fasted for exactly 60 minutes, I was very, very close, so it shouldn’t be a problem…I actually thought that maybe I was being too scrupulous, worrying about five minutes or less.

Last night I did some research on the internet and it looks like the 60-minute rule is very specific - that 55 minutes, or even 59 minute fasts are not acceptable. So now I’m worried that I committed a mortal sin, although I can’t be sure one way or another. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Now that I know that the 60 minute rule must be adhered to, exactly, I’ll make sure to observe it in the future and will refrain from taking Communion if I have any doubt.

I went to Confession last Sunday just to make sure that I would be able to do the First Fridays and First Saturdays devotions this week, even though I didn’t have mortal sins to confess. I don’t know if I will be able to get a priest to listen to a Confession today or even tomorrow, so I’m upset with myself that I’ll have to start all over in December! :frowning:


#8

If you were unintentionally late under those circumstances, then it was not a mortal sin. If you had not eaten for at least one hour.
:):):)


#9

I thought of the fast and glanced at my watch, saw that about an hour had passed since I had tasted the jam

Your intention was to keep the fast. It was about an hour, you had the assumption of making the fast and were caught off guard by the change in celebration time. For these reasons, any sin that may have occurred is likely venial. You can’t accidentally commit a mortal sin.

Again, since it bothers you, go ahead and mention it next time you go to Confession. However, you might need to ask your confessor about how to discern between scrupulosity and serious concerns.


closed #10

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