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Frequently Asked Questions
about
SUNDAY OBLIGATION:
NOT GOING TO MASS


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Q. 1. Am I obligated to go to Holy Mass on Sundays?

A. 1. According to the Church precepts, you are obligated to attend Mass on Sunday.

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Q. 2. Where do I find information on these Church precepts?

A. 2. "The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.") requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community gathers together on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord." (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2042)

(Note: "Eucharistic celebration" means "Holy Mass.")

The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely:

"On Sundays and other holydays of obligation, the faithful are obliged to assist at Mass. They are also to abstain from such work or business that would inhibit the worship to be given to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, or the due relaxation of mind and body." (Canon Law # 1247)

"The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day." [Canon Law # 1248.1] (C.C.C. # 2180)

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Q. 3. Is it a sin not to go to Holy Mass on Sunday?

A. 3. The Catholic Church teaches that the faithful are obligated to attend Holy Mass (Eucharistic celebration) on days of obligation. Those who deliberately fail in the obligation of attending Sunday Mass commit a grave sin.

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Q. 4. Where can I find that rule?

A. 4. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it states:

"The Sunday Eucharist (meaning "Holy Mass") is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. [Canon Law # 1245] Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin." (C.C.C. # 2181)

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Q. 5. What are the consequences of committing a grave sin?

A. 5. Those who have committed a grave sin cannot receive communion without having gone to confession first.

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Q. 6. I never heard of this. Again, where do I find that rule?

A. 6. This one is in the Canon Law Code where it states:

"Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the Body of the Lord without previously having been to sacramental confession, unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolve to go to confession as soon as possible." [Canon Law # 916]

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