What would you say: what is a Good Catholic?


A friend of mine returned to The Church after a 50 year absence. He is married to a non-Catholic. He attends Mass once a week…but not on Sunday. It’s complicated … but … to make peace he prefers a morning Mass during the week. He has been faithful for the last 20 months.

His wife was speaking to another Catholic person who is very upset by the current trends in the Church. That person stated that “a Good Catholic” is one who attends Mass on Sunday…the inference is that my friend is not being a Good Catholic.

“PC” be darned … what do you say, please?


One who loves God and neighbor with all their heart.


If he has permission from his confessor, then he meets the weekly mass requirement. A good Catholic should also go to confession regularly and accept all the teachings of the church.


Going to Sunday mass or a vigil mass on Saturday is an obligation that needs to be fulfilled. Of course fulfilling it doesn’t make one a good Catholic, but it does help when you know how to benefit from it. Really look at the lives of the saints and you’ll see what a good Catholic is.


I’d say the minimum for being classified as a good Catholic is that one obeys the precepts of the Church. See the Catechism:


Before I sign off for the evening…I thank each one who provided thoughtful insight. My friend confesses regularly, says a Rosary daily…and, in fact, his Confessor considers him a “good man”. The question arises about fulfilling a weekly Mass obligation on—Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. The “tag” of a “Good Catholic” was associated with NOT attending Mass…specifically…on Sunday. I know your thoughts are well-considered…and appreciated. Good Evening…


A “good Catholic” is someone who follows the precepts of the Church to the best of their ability. It’s great that your friend is going to Mass, but he certainly can do better by going when the Church says he should go (if there are extenuating circumstances, he can contact his bishop and ask for a dispensation until his situation is resolved).


Is there a particular reason he doesn’t go on Sundays? Weekly Mass cannot be substituted for Sunday. If he has a good reason and he discussed it with his confessor, then it might be ok, but it would need to be an extenuating circumstance.

In everyday speech when people say “good Catholic” I think they refer to someone who does the bare minimum required by the Church (which includes Sunday Mass).


Then the Sunday obligation isn’t applicable. It’s no different than having an illness that prevents one from attending Mass.

Perhaps the person in question was speaking loosely and generally.


How about how one acts outside of church walls. Shouldn’t that be held to high regard?


Well, okay. The Sunday Mass, and specifically Sunday, is an obligation, as are Holy Days of Obligation throughout the year. Regular, pre-meditated absence is not usually considered to be acceptable. You can have extenuating circumstances, such as illness, transportation, etc that occur over a time period which would absolve you of culpability, but this decision is made on a case by case basis (priest or bishop) and I’ve never heard of it being dispensed for the purposes of avoiding tension or argument with a spouse or within a relationship. Having said that, each case is unique involving unique individuals and unique circumstances. In that case, it may be “allowable” for a time.

The other issue is the issue of “giving scandal”. It’s complicated and needs to be weighed against each individual’s right to privacy, but when people realize that you’re not at Mass on Sunday, it becomes an issue of what we use to call “scandal”…I don’t have a great definition for it. It’s sort of a combination of giving offense, encouraging others to sin by example, “getting away” with something, causing tension or friction because you’re out of step. It’s not a popular notion in our current me-first, then you cultural mentality, but it has its place and to give scandal is not considered to be the hallmark of a “good Catholic”.

As mentioned prior also, “good CAtholic” is sometimes used as a euphemism for “good enough”, “no better than s/he ought to be”, etc.


Catholics always run the risk of becoming very religious but not spiritually transformed; thus they end up emulating the pharisees instead of Christ. Here is Archbishop Sheen answering your question:




He should go to mass on Sundays (starts on Saturday evening) and days of obligation whenever possible otherwise it is a sin against the precept of the Church.

Not sure about the good Catholic thing though.


A good Catholic, like any “good” Christian, is one who is a friend of God, who loves God and neighbor and is transformed by the relationship with the divine. As an outsider looking in I can understand the fellow’s preference for weekday Mass. I attend Mass twice a week but not on Sundays. For me it’s just better that way. I have invited my wife on occasion but she is not open to Catholicism.


A Saint-like Catholic


A good Catholic is someone who KNOWS, LOVES and SERVES the Lord with their whole heart, mind and soul. They KNOW God because they spend time with Him and have a personal relationship with Him. They KNOW Him because they share their life with Him. They KNOW Him because they read His word and seek out to understand it. They LOVE Him by putting God first in everything. He is what all their decisions are based on. They LOVE Him by following His Commandment not out of duty or fear of hell but out of o much love for Him. They SERVE Him by always putting others first. Their neighbors needs come before their own. They know that to SERVE their neighbor is to SERVE Jesus.

And in all of this they follow the precepts of the Church.


One who observes the precepts of the church,such as attending mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation,confessing sins at least once a year(minimal),contributing financially to the church,etc.


As far as I’m concerned, he’s crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. I would never imply that he is falling short in some way! He has gained a great victory! I would encourage him to continue forward and that God is with him, God loves him and welcomes him home. This is the very thing that prayerful people have been petitioning God with their rosaries for decades! May God be praised.


Jews are very inclusive. No matter what branch of Judaism or even no religious belief, a Jew is a Jew.

“Good Catholic” is a term I’ve heard mostly by critics, a derisive term. “Catholic” should say it all. Show me a church where nobody is a sinner and maybe we should switch and join that church – but then it would have us sinners – we can’t win the war of words.

A baby can be baptized and be Catholic but has a lot to learn. That pretty much sums up all of us


He’s solemnly bound, unless via dispensation or just cause, to attend Sunday mass.

If he can’t even do that for Christ and his bride, one wonders what he can do for them.

I remind you people were torn apart by lions for the faith. An hour a week isn’t much.

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