struggling with The Church’s teaching regarding obligation

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    There is one teaching that I still struggle with. That is the obligation to attend mass. Now mind you I follow that teaching to the best of my abilities-but I struggle with the idea of it. I have a strong Protestant background with no intention of leaving the Catholic Church ever…..except the one thing I feel constantly is that Catholics attend church out of ‘obligation’ but not with their hearts and souls so to speak. And I constantly hear’ what do we have to do’, how many times do we have to do it, and does it count if?????? Do you get the picture? It is frustrating to witness this. Any help for me? Any replies? Thanks. :rolleyes:


    I agree with you Pamela, that many Catholics attend church out of obligation. That also bothers me a lot. I think we could rephrase some terms like “Holy Day of Obligation” into “Holy Day of [i:1gc3ert2]Opportunity[/i:1gc3ert2]” :!: to capture the true essence and spirit that the Catholic Church wants to evoke and enliven in us.

    I guess it makes sense for me this way and hopefully this may help you-
    I’m glad that these people go at all. Even though they may not go with the great desire to receive Jesus in the Eucharist <img loading=” title=”Sad” /> I think sometimes this “obligation/opportunity” will bring more to church than would go otherwise- and that’s the more opportunity for grace :idea: to work on their hearts through the people, sermon, and Mass. It certainly shouldn’t ‘be good enough’ just to go to church to follow the Catholic Church’s teachings, because God wants us heart and soul and not just the actions that we do.

    You’re not alone in this struggle. Keep reaching out to those in church and God can spark a revolution in the way many think about Mass!
    <img loading=” title=”Razz” />


    You know, technically no one has to go to mass. The bishops have said that in order to remain in good standing that one must attend mass each week, but in reality no one [i:1ej0zitp]has[/i:1ej0zitp] to go.

    See, what is nice about Catholic theology is there is room to make your own choices. Albeit there are consequences for actions you make like in any decision in life, but you are really free to make your own choices. Some people have this weird perception that the Catholic Church traps people or you can’t be free because there are so many rules, but in fact it is that way in anything you do. You are free to do whatever you want in your life, but if you want to be a member of something you have to follow the rules.

    I think the magesterium made these rules of obligation for the benefit of the people and not to be a burden. It is just that it is a little more demanding that what some people would like, but doesn’t the Lord deserve that? Doesn’t God deserve at least an hour each week if not more? I think people that whine about having to go to mass are really missing the point of the mass – which I believe is at least 50% of the Catholic population.*

    *Note: This is not scientific, just my personal observation. Feel free to disagree and post otherwise from my opinion.

    I do agree that this is a bit distressing, but I think it takes the rest of the faith community to pray about it and to inform people about why the mass is so special.


    Thank you for the responses, they help me to look at things in a new light.
    Perhaps what I am really complaining about is the ‘legalistic” way I feel many Catholics act. Let me explain; in my observations many act as if going to mass, and confession, and fasting, or following many of the church’s teachings or rules means they are okay, and they seem to go with life breaking practically every single commandment God gave us without even thinking about it :cry:

    because they are ‘okay’because they go to mass, etc. I am not as pessimistic as this statement sounds, it is just the frustration I struggle with. Thanks for reading.


    Yeah, that legalism is a pain. My personal theory is that people have a legalistic view of the Church because of the way the Church has acted in the past and the way it enforced the rules. Nuns with rulers, bishops and priests with political power, etc… I think has led to this view.

    I think the Church of today though is working hard to shed that image and hopefully the next generation will not view it so legalistically. <img loading=” title=”Smile” />

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