When is one excused from mass for mental health reasons?

When is one excused for mental instability from the mass? If they have diagnosis? If they have a history of instability?

There is no one correct answer for this question as there are far too many variables. The best thing would be for the individual to talk to a priest.

I would say when a diagnoses is given it’s the time to start attending mass (as long as it’s possible).

Tons of people with diagnosis of mental illness attend Mass regularly and find it comforting and beneficial. The kind of situation where a mentally ill person might be excused from Mass is if the nature of their specific illness makes attending Mass unbearable for them or unsafe for them and others.

God bless you.

Discuss it with your priest. There are many different mental health illnesses, and varying degrees of each of them. None of us can say which is okay, and which isn’t.

I suffer from depression, occasional social anxiety, panic attacks and such. I also have health issues; yet, another person with my same issues will not be 100% the same, and may or may not be able to attend Mass.

When I make my Confession, if there is a chance that certain issues in my life are affecting my abilities or sins, I include those, not to reduce my culpability, but to include further details. One woman may say (for example) “I had cramps and missed Mass.”…yet they weren’t that bad and she later went shopping. Another’s cramps may cause you to be bedridden.

Even after discussing it with your priest, only God knows your heart and your condition 100%. You can’t get a note from your doctor to miss Mass. :slight_smile:

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Never. Nothing about the mass could possibly cause or promote “mental health” problems.

This is not true. Some people suffer crippling social anxiety, fear of crowds etc. that would make attending Mass extremely, extremely difficult for the person. The best course of action is to give a priest the specific details regarding the mental illness and ask for direction.

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I suffer with several different types of mental illness that often prevent me from attending mass or going out. When I have spoken to priests in the past about this they have told me that the Lord knows my mental health issues and why I can’t attend mass and that Our Lord doesn’t hold it against me nor is it considered to be a mortal sin.

If a persons mental health issues are serious and prevent one from going to mass then that is valid reason for missing mass.


God bless

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talk to your pastor ,no one here is qualified to answer this question.

You’ll need to discuss this with a spiritual director, priest or confessor.

Suffice to say when the Church excuses people due to illness, mental illness is covered under that directive.

Again, recourse to an individual confessor is the best route to take. I suffered a lot from panic attacks during Mass for many years; most of the time I’m better now and can receive the consolations of Mass. I assume that was SentinelofTruth might have been getting at, but was mistaken about. One can greatly desire to be at Mass yet have a struggle not to want to bolt out the door. This is not due to Mass, at least I’ll speak for myself, but to the anxiety symptoms. Or whatever other symptoms a person may be having.

Now if I were alone in a strange city (not likely to happen since I don’t travel on my own due to phobias) and a strange church, I’d probably be pretty symptomatic once again. Or if I were going through a period of great stress. It just varies.

After my father died, I had a resurgence of symptoms to the point where I consulted a priest. His answer was wise and balanced - not to use the dispensation as an excuse, but only if symptoms got really bad; can’t remember exactly how he phrased it but that was the gist. And that was based on what I described to him at that particular time. So each person who has this question should talk about it with a priest and explain clearly and concisely what the issues are, and hopefully this will elicit good advice and a plan of action.

One other thing to consider is whether sometimes attending Mass with a support person would be helpful.

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[quote=hopeful3542]This is not true. Some people suffer crippling social anxiety, fear of crowds etc. that would make attending Mass extremely, extremely difficult for the person. The best course of action is to give a priest the specific details regarding the mental illness and ask for direction.

“Social anxiety”, and “fear of crowds” are not “mental health issues”. They’re emotional difficulties. Difficulty does not justify a violation of God’s laws. This is exemplified by the martyrs. Do not think you can excuse yourself from such a minimal sacrifice (it’s only one hour a week out of 168) just because you are “anxious” or “afraid”.

For some people, that’s a serious issue and can set off panic attacks, not some lame excuse to miss Mass.

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Where did you get your medical degree?

I think you must be inexperienced with those who suffer from severe anxiety. For some people, this disorder rises to the point of being physically crippling. For others, it isn’t so bad, and they can attend Mass with minimal discomfort.

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That is simply not true. Are you a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist?

^ This. :thumbsup: Even a psychiatrist (such as I) doesn’t have a canned answer to this question, as it has both spiritual and psychological dimensions. Obviously, a person who is acutely psychotic, and at risk of harming others in a public place, would not be expected to attend Mass - but apart from that obvious exception, I think the call has to be taken on a case-by-case basis.

Relabelling something doesn’t make it go away.

Whether you choose to call it “emotional difficulty” or “mental disorder”, it’s still a difficulty.

There is a lot of difference between martyrdom and suffering from an anxiety disorder; besides, I don’t think the OP is looking for excuses. Judge not, folks. :slight_smile:

Never. “Mental health” issues do not justify missing Mass.

PS: This is not “giving medical advice” as the moderator said, its saying one thing does not justify another, a completely religious and non-medical statement. I am saying nothing about the “medical” side of the issue.

There is never any instance of mental illness that is so overwhelming so as to excuse someone from Mass-no matter how disabling or painful it might be? What is your basis for saying this? By what authority?

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