Is Missing Mass a Grave Sin?


By Fr. Richard W. Frank,

I think Catholics need to be continually reminded of the importance and seriousness of our obligation in love to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every Lord’s Day and Holy Day of Obligation. It is God’s third commandment, and one which is emphasized by the Precepts of the Church which oblige Catholics to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days, confess sins at least once a year, receive Holy Communion during the Easter season, observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence, obey the laws of the Church in regard to marriage, and to support the Church conscientiously according to their means.

I refer to that third commandment—“Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day”—not as an obligation in a negative way but as an obligation in love. Our motive for worshiping God and giving Him thanks, which we do in a perfect way through Holy Mass, is one of love and not just obligation.

Yes, It Is.  And Don’t Forget Confession.

If the Holy Father Goes to Confession, Shouldn't You?

If the Holy Father Goes to Confession, Shouldn’t You?

It is such a serious obligation that the Church has always taught that to neglect it through our own fault constitutes a grave (Mortal) sin, which must be confessed as soon as possible in order to be restored to God’s grace and be able to receive Holy Communion worthily again. Unfortunately, I know that some Catholics today regard the “Sunday Obligation” very lightly and skip Mass when they are out of their normal circumstances as when on vacation. What is worse is that they continue to receive Holy Communion even without repenting and having gone to Confession first. This simply compounds their guilt and sinfulness, for to receive Holy Communion unworthily, that is, in the state of Mortal sin, is what is called a sacrilege and a further serious sin.

It is of course more challenging to attend Sunday Mass when we are traveling or otherwise out of our normal circumstances, but I am a firm believer in the old adage—“Where there is a will, there is a way.” It is even easier today than in the past to make plans and arrangements ahead of time since through the internet we can easily find Catholic churches and Mass times, and GPS gives us directions to them. We plan ahead for lodging and meals and entertainment. Why should we not do the same for our obligation to God?

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5 comments to Is Missing Mass a Grave Sin?

  • Katie Herk

    Missing Mass IS a mortal sin…. unfortunately it was taught the easy way. I have asked several Priests this question and it’s always, “NO, if you’re sick or have not transportation”. Then I say, “in one word, is it a mortal sin to miss Mass”? Their answer always….YES!! Young people only hear the NO part!!

  • RM

    Isn’t just missing Mass on Sunday, but going to another “protestant episcopal church” believing that you have received Jesus in Holy Communion! And, saying that “it is the same church, ONLY, that “a woman” is the one presiding.”

    But many Catholics believing in the wrong “ecumenism” have fallen in this trap!

    Thank you, Courageous Priests, for helping us! May God give you the perseverance and strength to continue talking to us about the true teachings of Jesus Christ’s Church!

  • LAC

    If we miss Mass say due to illness but we get the same Mass (the current one) on the internet or television is that still missing Mass?

  • Maria Aznar

    We go to Mass not so much because it is our duty an obligation but because we are called to worship Our Lord and Creator, to receive Him in Holy Communion, and to be transformed. And above all, because He is our God and we love Him! He said: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make our abode with him.” + (John 14:23) Going to Mass is a privilege and a gift from God, a source of grace like no other, and a means to become holy.

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