This morning I was listening to the 5/20/15 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” radio show broadcast by The Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, out of Buffalo, NY. A listener called in with an interesting question for “father” Peter Calabrese, asking if it was a “mortal”sin to miss mass on Sunday if a person was camping on a particular weekend and there wasn’t a Catholic church close by.
“Father” Pete replied that if it’s “impossible” to get to mass on Sunday then it’s not a “mortal” sin. But this curious ex-Catholic wonders exactly why it would not be a “mortal” sin? Isn’t it reasonable to assume that if a Catholic plans a weekend camping trip without checking ahead to see if there is a church nearby to attend on Sunday then they are committing “mortal” sin? Are Catholics obligated to attend mass on Sunday or not? With all the internet tools available these days a Catholic can easily find out if there’s a Catholic church close to a particular camping site.
But let’s say a camper has good intentions and gets to a campsite only to find out the local Catholic church was struck by lightning the day before and burnt to the ground. How many miles away from the campsite would the nearest Catholic church have to be before the Catholic camper could legitimately say it was “impossible” to get to mass? 50 miles? 100 miles? 200 miles?
Catholics are taught they must obey a long laundry list of rules, including obligatory Sunday mass attendance, to merit their way to Heaven. As the above scenario demonstrates, Catholics must consult their church’s fine print to determine whether they’re fulfilling their legalistic obligations. And the answer to the caller’s question above will change depending on the priest who’s consulted.
Ach, so much legalism! So much scrupulosity! But no amount of scrupulosity will make ANYONE holy. Jesus said in Matthew 5 that all of us are guilty of grave sin because even our thoughts constantly condemn us.
Yes, sin is a terrible thing and will be judged by a Holy God. But God so loves us He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins by His death on the cross. Then Jesus conquered sin and death by rising from the grave. All those who accept Jesus as their Savior will have their sins forgiven. You cannot merit Heaven by trying to be good, or by going to mass every Sunday, or by attempting to be obedient to a long religious laundry list. None of us are righteous and none of us can earn our salvation.
“As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.” – Romans 3:10-11.
Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and find a good Evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” – John 1:12
“Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” – Romans 4:4-8