Is it really a mortal sin to skip Sunday Mass?
it is the teaching of the Catholic Church, that it is always a mortal sinintentionally to skip Mass on Sunday or on a Holy Day without a serious reaso
The authority of St Alphonsus
St Alphonsus Liguori,states simply (quoting Pope Innocent XI) that the precept of attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days (as well as abstaining from unnecessary servile work)binds under pain of mortal sin
reader can find his treatment of this in Theologia Moralis, Tomus Primus, 263ff
According to the current law of the Church, this obligation is fulfilled by attending Mass any time from the preceding evening until midnight of the day – thus, a Saturday evening Mass (whether for the Sunday or for the Saturday, or a wedding Mass, etc) will fulfill the Sunday obligation
a man may be excused from positive precepts for a serious caus
there are certainly circumstances which would excuse a man fromattending Sunday Mass – as the obligation is grave, only a grave cause couldexcuse
we have used the phrase "skip" SundayMass, rather than "miss" – thereby we indicate the difference between missing Mass for a grave reason (e.g. being in the ER at the hospital) and skipping Mass for no good reason (e.g. simply sleeping in)
The obvious bad will in those who sayskipping Sunday Mass is not a grave sin
those who advocate for the opposite opinion (namely, that it is onlya venial sin to skip Sunday Mass on occasion) fail to quote a single Churchdocument or even the opinion of any saint to support their impious claim
attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is a precept of the Church (cf CCC 2180) which precepts are givento maintain the bare minimum of moral rectitude (cf CCC 2041, "the very necessary minimum")
"The faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on daysof obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, thecare of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately failin this obligation commit grave sin." (CCC 218
"Holydays of obligation are special feastsof the Church on which we are bound, under pain of mortal sin, to hear Mass andto keep from servile or bodily labors when it can be done without great loss orinconvenience
Whoever, on account of their circumstances, cannot give up workon holydays of obligation should make every effort to hear Mass and should alsoexplain in confession the necessity of working on holydays."
whosoever should rashly and with such great hubris dare to assertand even to teach others that occasionally skipping Sunday Mass or Holy Daysfor no grave reason is not a mortal sin, is rightly to be held in contempt byall and should know himself to be guilty of spiritual murder as leading othersinto sin, himself having certainly committed grave sin by his impiousutterance
What makes a "grave sin" to bea "mortal sin"?
sin is mortal if it is grave matter, and committed freely and knowingly
we will not herediscuss when a person may or may not have sufficient knowledge or freedom forthe sin to be mortal – that is better done in the confessional with a devoutand traditional priest
Catechism teaches that "anyoneconscious of a grave sin must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation beforecoming to Communion." (CCC 1385)
Why is it a mortal sin to skip Mass onSunday?
St John Paul II states, “The Code of Canon Law of1917 for the first time gathered this tradition into a universal law. Thepresent Code reiterates this, saying that ‘on Sundays and other holy days ofobligation the faithful are bound to attend Mass’. This legislation hasnormally been understood as entailing a grave obligation: this is the teachingof the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and it is easy to understand why if wekeep in mind how vital Sunday is for the Christian life.” (Dies Domini, 47)
Mass attendance is truly necessary for the Christian life.Participating in Sunday worship is of such great value and necessity to thesoul
this precept is of thegreatest advantage to the Christian soul which will quickly perish without thehelps of common worship, orthodox preaching, and the grace derived from theSacrament of the Altar
If God had commanded that every day shouldbe given wholly to him, he would have been within his rights – for the wholeman, together with all his time and energies, belongs entirely to God. However,God is most generous in demanding (through his Church) only Sundays and a veryfew other days which must be given to divine worship. It is such a small demandin his part, and those who fail to do even this little amount are guilty of anextreme boldness
no doubt that those who fail in this most basicduty of man have failed to fulfill even the bare minimum of what is required ofany decent human being – therefore, it is good and right that the Church shouldhold the faithful bound to the observance of Sundays and Holy Days under painof mortal sin