When did the rule occur that you have to go to mass on Sunday or it’s a mortal sin?
Roughly 1500 BC.
Exodus, chap. 20
Well, that was in regards to Saturday, and the Mass wasnt a thing…
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work.90
The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.91
- I. THE SABBATH DAY
2168 The third commandment of the Decalogue recalls the holiness of the sabbath: "The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD."92
2169 In speaking of the sabbath Scripture recalls creation: "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it."93
2170 Scripture also reveals in the Lord’s day a memorial of Israel’s liberation from bondage in Egypt: "You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with mighty hand and outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day."94
2171 God entrusted the sabbath to Israel to keep as a sign of the irrevocable covenant.95 The sabbath is for the Lord, holy and set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on behalf of Israel.
2172 God’s action is the model for human action. If God “rested and was refreshed” on the seventh day, man too ought to “rest” and should let others, especially the poor, "be refreshed."96 The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.97
2173 The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day.98 He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath."99 With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing.100 The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God.101 "The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."102
II. THE LORD’S DAY
This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.103
The day of the Resurrection: the new creation
2174 Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week."104 Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath,105 it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday:
We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.106
Sunday - fulfillment of the sabbath
2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:107
Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord’s Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.108
2176 **The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship "as a sign of his universal beneficence to all."9 Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people.
Precepts of the Church
1.You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation.
2.You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
3.You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least once during the Easter season.
4.You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
5.You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
We have always had an obligation to worship God under the Commandments given to Moses. That obligation has taken different forms down through the ages. Under the Old Covenant it took the form of the Sabbath laws. In the New Covenant it takes the form of worship in the Mass.
Deacon Jeff has posted the relevant Catechism sections.
S. John Paul II touched on the history in his Apostolic Letter Dies Domini:
- Even if in the earliest times it was not judged necessary to be prescriptive, the Church has not ceased to confirm this obligation of conscience, which rises from the inner need felt so strongly by the Christians of the first centuries. It was only later, faced with the half-heartedness or negligence of some, that the Church had to make explicit the duty to attend Sunday Mass: more often than not, this was done in the form of exhortation, but at times the Church had to resort to specific canonical precepts. This was the case in a number of local Councils from the fourth century onwards (as at the Council of Elvira of 300, which speaks not of an obligation but of penalties after three absences)(78) and most especially from the sixth century onwards (as at the Council of Agde in 506).(79) These decrees of local Councils led to a universal practice, the obligatory character of which was taken as something quite normal.(80). The Code of Canon Law of 1917 for the first time gathered this tradition into a universal law.(81)
I try to be a devout Catholic but often have doubts about what causes a person to condemn himself to hell. It is hard for me to always accept that Keeping Holy the Sabbath day always means going to mass. If a person on occasion misses mass It is hard for me to believe that he is going to hell because he missed mass. Thoughts??
Well, if he was unable to go, God does not hold that against him.
If he chose not to go in spite of being able to and knowing that he should go to Mass according to Gods law, then he chooses against a relationship with God.
Right, but what is God’s law. He said to “keep holy the Sabbath Day”. Is going to mass the only way to keep the sabbath day holy? And if traditional Catholics don’t consider it a “grievous” offense, is it going to send that person to eternal damnation? I just dont think that the Good Lord works that way.
Well, the Church, who speaks with divine authority, has said that is how we should follow the Sabbath.
I suppose it depends on why he missed mass. If you just don’t feel like , or want to substitute an activity for mass, then it would seem to be a mortal sin, at least objectively. But if your sick, can’t get there because of the church distance, or perhaps a snowstorm, then there’s no sin.
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