See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Missing Mass on Sunday - it isn't that bad, is it?



"Emphasis should be placed upon grace, not obligation."
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"Say something nice" and don't be so intolerant and make people think they have to do anything they don't want to do... that's kinda, sorta the impression I got from the article, Mass on Sunday:  Obligation or opportunity? by Fr. Richard Benson, C.M..  "For us to use the language of "obligation" and "duty" is to minimize the Eucharist, to miss its very centrality."  Then the author goes on to write a small pamphlet explaining why that is so, even though the Catechism states very clearly and succinctly:
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2180  The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass." 117  "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 the evening of the preceding day." 118  - CCC
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Don't tell anyone, but the real reason missing Mass on Sunday is a grave sin is explained in the following paragraphs of the CCC:
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2181  The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice.  For this reason the faithful are obliged...
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2182   Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and his Church.  The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity.  Together they testify to God's holiness and their hope of salvation.  They strengthen (edify) one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  CCC
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"...stuck at the immature level of a morality of obligation."

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Fr. Benson's article addresses the concern of a woman in RCIA - a neophyte - someone coming into the Church.  He takes what the CCC says and lays on another requirement:
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Nevertheless, it would seem that the Catechism answers Janice's question very clearly: to deliberately miss Mass is to commit a grave sin. When a sin entails grave matter and is done deliberately and with knowledge, then it is indeed a mortal sin.  This however, should not be the end of Janice's inquiry but the beginning. - Source
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Although the priest cites pertinent passages from the CCC, rather than teach clearly and simply what the Church teaches, Benson goes on and on about feeings stuff and exceptions to the rules and idealized dispositions and attitudes and understandings - feelings.  Hugs.  Niceties.  All nicely woven together with theological references and early Church praxis.  I contend he confuses the neophyte and the reader on an otherwise simple subject - as I'm sure many RCIA classes do as well.  He invites Janice (the RCIA student) to somehow act as an arbitrer of conscience in determining if her husband and inlaws are sinning when they neglect Mass.  When in fact, all Janice was seeking was a clarification as to whether or not it is still a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sudays and days of obligation.
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"Nevertheless, it would seem that the Catechism answers Janice's question very clearly... "
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Seem?  Yeah - it did father.  Additionally, Fr. Benson never really states the necessity of confession before approaching Holy Communion (in the case of those who miss Mass deliberately or conscious of grave sin), while giving the impression that the point of the Mass or communal Celebration of the Eucharist is sacramental Communion by all in attendence.  Father refers to a mature Catholic attitude despite the notion he is speaking to a neophyte, whose Catholic inlaws clearly lack a sense of devotion, or sensum fidei, and most likey need a great deal of spiritual help as well - something a good confession could jump start.  Ironically, he suggests Janice evangelize her family even though she is having trouble assimilating clear teaching and doctrine.
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Fr. Richard Benson's article misses. 
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But it is nice... and I'm sure he is too.
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Say something nice Gracie.
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H/T PewsittersNews
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Photo:  Excuse #1) "Missing Mass on Sunday because Father is gay?"
                              "No, not good enough.  Next!"
Photo source.

4 comments:

  1. Blechhh!
    Father needs a refresher course in moral theology, a course taught by Fr. Brian Mullady, OP, who taught me, and many other seminarians...
    What a load of you-know-what.
    Missing Mass on Sunday because you're sick, taking care of someone who is sick or unable to get to a Catholic Church without considerable trouble removes your obligation...missing Mass because you're damned lazy or don't care is one thing; that's mortal sin as far as I'm concerned...I've had senior citizens confess that they missed Mass because it was icy and they couldn't go outside and I try to tell them that God doesn't want them to endanger their lives...two extremes...Lord, give us some sense!

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  2. I am appalled to hear people confess that they missed Mass on Sundays because they were tired after partying last night and woke up late around noon or they forget it is Sunday or they have a lot of sports activities.

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  3. Sunday Mass is the weekly opportunity for prayer, adoration, petition, thanksgiving and perhaps a conversation with our Blessed Lord.

    More importantly, at the same time we get the opportunity to participate in the re-presentation of the Passion and Death of our Blessed Lord and receive His Body as spiritual food with all its attendant graces.

    Over and above that, we have the opportunity to learn a little more about our faith through listening to the Readings of the Mass and the explanations provided by the priest

    Who would not want to do that, not just on Sundays, but every day?

    It is not an opportunity for fellowship and entertainment that may or may not have any great spiritual value.

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  4. +JMJ+

    I beg to differ with Father Benson about the language of obligation minimising the centrality of the Eucharist. If anything, I think it emphasises the point.

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