What does canon law state concerning those who cannot attend Mass due to social anxiety disorder?

I go to a great EF mass with another person who has the same disorder. It can often become uncomfortable, although it is not as intense as going to a grocery store or a someplace of that nature. I have tried to go to the parish assemblies after mass, but find it almost impossible. I take medication for this, but it does not always work. This is when I have a difficult time in leaving the house, or get to Mass.

I often feel like I have committed a mortal sin, yet I know it is not in my power when it happens, therefore I know this cannot be so. Dispite this, it does tend to get the scruples demon in my mind working harder and I end up being more depressed by it, which only seem to be alleviated by my physical attendence at Mass. I do try to “attend” mass by internet ( I don’t own a television) but have very limited sites that offer the TLM and or the OF Mass, respectively. Perhaps others can help me with finding sites that do.

I have attempted to have a priest administer confession and communion at my home, but they (any priest of any parish) explain that it is too dangerous and that it can only be done in cases of extreme unction (which predominately occur in hospitals). I knew a time when this was not so, but can understand why it must be today, considering how priests seem to be common targets of scandals.

To commit a mortal sin there are three things that must be present.

  1. The object of the sin must be of grave matter
  2. The sin must be committed with full knowledge
  3. The sin must be committed with deliberate consent

So someone who suffers from SAD would meet only the first two conditions when missing a Mass on a Day of Obligation.

I do not think they do so with “deliberate consent”. Now if they have medication or other treatments that will help them so that they can attend Mass but chose not to take those then that would be different.

Also not going because one does not wish to go to the gathering after Mass would not be a valid reason as the gathering after Mass is not required.

Why is it too dangerous for a priest to come to your house to hear your confession or for you to receive communion? That is part of their ministry.

I know that NO refers to the Novus Ordo Mass and TLM refers to the Traditional Latin Mass, but what is an EF Mass and an OF Mass?

I don’t care much for socializing, at that. I often avoid any social contact as it is. Mass seems more tolerable than any other social situation, as I would guess that it is due to the nature of it. In the EF most persons keep very much to themselves and even avoid eye contact with others if they can help it. This is a perfect situations for someone who suffers SAD. I literally feel I am the only one in the pews, and this is helpful.

I also understand the conditions of what is mortal sin. I may be confusing in my question (b it’s wording), but I actually am looking for citations or references on the Church’s understanding of it (if any information does exist, as it seems more psychological than spiritual), and why priests cannot visit private residences. I guess I am looking for more detailed information, but I have a difficult time searching it on the web. Thanks for the help.

EF=Extraordinary Form (TLM)
OF=Ordinary Form (NO)

OF and EF are the proper distinctions between the, so-called, Novus Ordo and Traditional Latin Mass.

OF stands for the Ordinary Form of the Mass and EF stands for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Pope Benedict used this in his documents.

NO and TLM were never proper names but were slang terms and NO has been used in a derogatory manner as in NO meaning no.

The neighborhood— and certain things that often can happen to individuals who are openly representative of the Church (My parish priest wears the traditional cassock!) Remember, we live in a society that thrives on scandal, and the anti-catholic community seeks all reasons to find ways to put priests out of their business. I am sure that it is easier for some depending on where they live and who they are.

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

§2. If participation in the eucharistic celebration becomes impossible because of the absence of a sacred minister or for another grave cause, it is strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the word if such a liturgy is celebrated in a parish church or other sacred place according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop or that they devote themselves to prayer for a suitable time alone, as a family, or, as the occasion permits, in groups of families.

This does not really answer the question.

The issue is whether or not someone suffering from SAD who misses Mass is committing a mortal sin, which is what I answered.

EWTN has mass everyday at seven eastern time
God bless

I find that hard to believe. I live in NY and priests go out into the worst neighborhoods dressed as priests and no one bothers them. In fact, Fr Groschel’s brothers live in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city (South Bronx) and they do just fine so do the sisters who work with them. What would be the scandal in bringing communion to a shut in? Priest have done it for centuries.

If you’re too sick to go to Mass, you’re too sick to go to Mass.

This should include SAD if it’s really acting up badly and preventing your normal functioning.

I would check with your parish Priest about it, maybe go see a psychologist/psychiatrist so that they can either maybe write a letter explaining the situation to the Priest so that the Priest knows it is a serious issue and/or prescribe meds or find a way to help the person so they can go to Mass w/o problems.

Second part first, call you Parish office and ask to be but on the list for homebound communion.

Illness excuses one from Mass:


**2181 **The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

As a possible remedy to your situation, may I recommend that you get to church at least 15 minutes before Mass commenses to make sure you can get a spot in the last pew. Also, you may make pre-arrangements with the Priest to have a EMHC walk to where you are sitting and give you the Eucharist.

Im not trying to show any disrespect with regard to your disease. I know very little about it. Maybe my suggestion could work for you…

Again, I would suggest going to see a good psychiatrist/psychologist (preferably one with a strong Catholic background). They can perhaps provide some kind of treatment (whether medicinal, cognitive, etc.) and also perhaps write up some kind of document so that, if you ask your Priest for a dispensation so you are not required to attend Mass, you can show that you do have a legitimate issue.

God does not require you to do what you are unable to do, neither does the church. My roommate also has an anxiety disorder. She is now much improved but at times in the past she has had to leave church before mass began or very early in the mass. She gets to church 45 minutes early and sits in the last row near the door.

As you said, this doesn’t just happen in church. It isn’t under your control. If there are times you aren’t even able to leave the house, God is with you there. I do hope you can get therapy or medication to help you. Where I live you could get counseling or therapy through Catholic Charities even if you are on a very limited budget. And don’t discount the power of prayer. If there is a prayer list in your church ask to be put on it. Ask others to pray for you.

Can you and your friend manage to get to the rectory or parish office for confession? Many priests are willing to make an appointment for confession or counseling. Could you get to a daily mass? There is a man in my parish who can’t tolerate being at Sunday mass. He attends a weekday mass that is much less crowded.

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