Missing Mass and Skipping Mass

angrynunI have to hand it to the nuns.

Those sisters with rulers certainly got it into the heads of the young Catholics that missing Mass was a mortal sin.

However, one of the troublesome things about hearing confessions is how many older Catholics seem to think this is the only sin, and they do not seem able or willing to make the distinction between missing Mass and skipping Mass.

Skipping Mass is when you roll over on Sunday and yawn and say, “I think I’ll play golf this Sunday.” or “We need to visit the relatives or go shopping or take the kids to a soccer match” or whatever. Skipping Mass is when you intentionally don’t go to Mass and do something else instead.

Its a sin because you are choosing to put something else before God on the one day he commands you to keep reserved for him. That would be the third commandment.

Missing Mass, however is when you didn’t get to Mass and it wasn’t your fault. You were traveling and you went to a church in Iowa, but they Mass times were changed and you had a plane to catch. You missed Mass. You didn’t skip it.

You can miss mass legitimately if you are genuinely sick (not just tired) you are looking after someone who is sick, your car breaks down, the bus doesn’t come or your bike has a flat tire and your repair kit is lost.

You get the idea.

There is another problem that comes up more and more however, and that is the problem of missing Mass because of work. Unfortunately more and more businesses are open and employers are demanding that their people work on Sundays.

Catholics should be able to get to another Mass somewhere in town though. Very few people have to work from mid afternoon on Saturday right through to early evening on Sunday. But if you do get into that situation your pastor should be able to give you a dispensation from your Mass obligation, and if you want to be with the Lord but just can’t get there for reasons beyond your control.

He still loves you and knows you love him so don’t feel guilty.


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