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Luke L. wrote:

Hi, guys —

My guests came on Sunday and I missed Holy Mass to prepare everything for them so I watched Mass online instead.

I read somewhere that watching Holy Mass on-line doesn't fulfill my Sunday obligation.

  • Have I committed a mortal sin?


  { Have I committed a mortal sin by watching Mass online instead of attending Mass in person? }

Bob replied:

Dear Luke,

Thanks for the question.

Missing Sunday Mass is a grave sin, except in cases where a legitimate dispensation is granted (I.e. illness, caring for the ill, etc.)

Since you may not have known the full implications of the obligation, your culpability is likely mitigated. Nevertheless, at your next opportunity, you should bring this to Confession.

Until that time, and whenever you realize fault, in any sin for that matter, say an Act of Contrition and let the Lord know your regret. This ultimately is about maintaining an accountable relationship with the God who loves you and died for you.

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee.

I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven, and the pains of Hell; but most of all because I have offened Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.


And frankly, this suiting at His feet to be nourished is what He wants for you.

Consider Martha and Mary. Martha was eager to take care of her guests, especially the Lord Himself, but it was Mary who chose the more important task.


Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Hi Luke,

I just wanted to add a bit to what Bob has said.

As Bob said, unless a legitimate dispensation is granted (I.e. illness, caring for the ill, etc.) or a dispensation has been granted by the local bishop, missing Sunday Mass is a grave sin and one should refrain from receiving Communion until they have first gone to Confession.

Some, like my sister-in-law have an uncatechized mind-set that says:

"I can talk to God whenever I want; I don't need to go to Mass on Sundays for that."

This erroneous view totally forgets that when we go to Mass, we are mystically made present at Calvary, during the double consecration at Mass, (See below) and we receive many graces from being present in the church building (mystically at Calvary at the foot of the Cross) during the Institution Narrative:

"Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is My Body which will be given up for you."

"Take this, all of you, and drink from it. This is the Cup of My Blood, the Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven."

"Do this in memory of me."

  • What happens when we separate our bodies from the blood that flows through it?   <Easy answer: We die!>

As I said in another answer to a question:

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a symbolic act that brings forth the Divine Reality.

The priest consecrates the wheat bread, into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. After that, he consecrates the grape wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. [The wheat bread and grape wine still have the taste, touch, look and feel of wheat bread and grape wine, but their substances, the thing that holds them together have been changed; this is the prime area of faith for the Catholic, and faith is something that is totally independent from our five senses.]

Those two separate consecrations change the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into both the Body and Blood of Christ and also symbolize death because they are done separately.


So no, watching Mass online does not meet your Sunday obligation to attend Mass. As Bob said, this ultimately is about maintaining an accountable relationship with the God who loves you and died for you. To keep this in the front of my mind, when I go to Mass I always prefer to say that I am renewing my Christian Covenant with the Lord.

There is another big negative to not going to Mass. People are social animals. We enjoy meeting and being around other people or catching up with old friends. You can't do this if you are a lazy bum at home and give false reasons to stay at home on Sunday mornings or Saturday evenings (if you usually attend the Saturday vigil.)

When my brother chose me to be a Confirmation sponsor to their fourth child, the first thing I told Stevie, my God child, was,

  • yes, the priest may be boring,
  • yes, the sermons could be better, and
  • yes, the parish activities could be improved

but the main reason, besides satisfying the Third commandment, that you should go to Sunday Mass on a weekly basis is to receive the mystical graces from Calvary that will bless our bodies, minds and souls so we will see the coming secular week and the events that happen that week through Christian eyes and from a Catholic Christian perspective. This will greatly help us make the best choices and decisions for that week.

When we don't renew our Christian Covenant, we end up making poor decisions that can hurt us, our family and our friends.

That said, quoting my good friend, Pete Hegseth, on Fox and Friends Sunday at the end of the show:

Go to Church!


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