The statistical blog FiveThirtyEight states:

Weekly Mass attendance is a natural place to divide Catholics by practice — skipping weekly Mass is a mortal sin, so Catholics who don’t attend as often are likely to view the church differently than those who show up every Sunday.

Is this correct? Is skipping weekly Mass considered to be a mortal sin in Catholicism?

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1 Answer 1


Yes, willfully skipping mass is a grave (mortal) sin. The key word here is willfully - being physically unable to attend, sick, or having other (legitimate) obligations is a valid excuse for not attending. From the Catechism:

The Sunday Eucharist 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. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin. (#2181)

The reason is because not attending mass is considered a violation of the third commandment - "keep holy the Sabbath" - and thus a serious offense against God's will.

  • Does 'obliged to participate' mean every single day of obligation, where one miss would be grave sin, or does it mean in general, where habitually missing days of obligation would be the grave sin ? Please justify any responses.
    – Matthew
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 3:19
  • @Matthew the catechism is referring to both the Sunday mass and the holy days of obligation, which vary between countries and among different parishes regarding how they are celebrated locally. The core issue is that in skipping Mass, we are choosing something else over God, which is a form of idolatry, as well as disobedience towards the rules of our community.
    – JAGAnalyst
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 4:03
  • @Matthew. If you miss a single Sunday mass, you go to Hell. Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 2:51
  • This answer would be even better if it explained what "legitimate" obligations constituted a valid excuse. Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 22:58

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