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Cynthia Valentino wrote:

Hi, guys —

I had a lengthy conversation with my son regarding my faith. I am Roman Catholic and have raised my three children with this faith. My son does not believe in our faith and said that someone who attends [daily/weekly] Mass is a better Christian than a person who attends less frequently.

I had to disagree with him. My reasons are based on what I believe, faith is practiced daily, one must believe. I have constant conversations with Our Lord and pray every night before bed.
My question is simple:

  • Is he correct?
  • Is someone who chooses to attend Mass more often a better Christian than others?

Cynthia

  { Is someone who attends Mass more often a better Christian than others who don't? }

Mike replied:

Dear Cindy,

Thanks for the question.

Yes, he is correct to a certain extent. Attending Sunday Mass on a weekly basis, in a state of grace, is not an option, just as the Ten Commandments are not the Ten Options. For our bodies to work and think in a moral way on a regular basis, the Lord instituted the Sabbath or Lord's Day to be celebrated every Sunday; it is the Third Commandment, not the Third Option.

I don't mean to be harsh, but if you have raised your sons to view your Sunday Obligation as a Sunday option, rather than a commandment, they have not been taught correctly. Beyond attending Mass every Sunday, you may have a point. I find it humorous that a non-believer is telling a believer something about the faith.

All around the world, people have an array of vocations and some of those vocations take on
certain responsibilities. I have no doubts many in the Church would like to get to daily Mass throughout the week, but due to job responsibilities, cannot.

Certain vocations are more prone to this. e.g.

  • Emergency Physicians at a hospital
  • Nurses working a morning shift
  • Police and Fire fighters, etc.
  • Does someone who attends Mass more often, make oneself a better Christian than the others?

While the Church would not deny the extra spiritual benefits of going to Mass on a daily basis, She understands certain vocations require specific work, during a specific time of day, to fulfill the vocation, so the answer to your question based on the [daily/weekly] portion of his original question is, No.

One has to discern whether one can uphold the responsibilities of ones vocation, while being able to attend daily Mass. If not daily, one may be able to attend Mass once or twice a week. Some people can do it; others cannot. Whether one can or cannot, attending daily Mass is
non-obligatory.

Like I said initially, the only thing the Church obliges us to do, is to renew our convent with the Lord every Sunday at Mass. The bishops of the United States have also recommended that the faithful go to Confession at least once a month.

You may want to suggest this to you son : )

Hope this helps,

Mike

Cindy replied:

Hi Mike,

Thank you so much for answering my question. My reasons for not attending Mass more often are more on a personal level. I went through a difficult divorce, and to my surprise, it was one that my former husband said was going to happen at some point.

His reasons were I needed to be punished for having three children. He seems to have not wanted any of them, then told me he faked our entire marriage of 19 years so my faith was tested.

In the end, I am a strong Catholic and do my own Confession daily before going to bed as I say my Rosary. I also speak with our Lord through private conversations. While practicing my faith at Mass in vital to me, I feel just as fortunate to be able to have daily private time. My older two children have been changed as a result of their father leaving, just as I have.

I pray that Our Lord will keep them safe and guide them daily.

Warmly,
Cynthia Valentino

Mike replied:

Hi, Cindy —

Thanks for the reply.

Occasionally, we have questioners that have the false notion that if they have been divorced, they may not receive the sacraments. This is not true. Only if a divorced Catholic re-marries without first receiving an annulment are they prohibited from receiving the sacraments.

If they have not re-married there is no issue involved and they may receive the sacraments.

I can't believe your husband would say such things and treat you this way. Based on what you have said I don't think you will have any problem obtaining an annulment, though the ultimate judge is the local tribunal. You should start the process with your pastor, seeing you may desire to marry in the future.

You said:
In the end, I am a strong Catholic and do my own Confession daily before going to bed as I say my Rosary.

Well, if we wish to be obedient to what our Lord left us we are required to confess our sins to a priest in Confession. There is a priest at most parishes every Saturday afternoon. In Confession, we not only receive the grace not to commit those specific sins again, but also receive counsel.

As for your kids, I will keep them in my prayers. It is very tough when there is no father in the family. It makes me wonder if there is a support group of:

  • "Catholic kids without fathers" or
  • "Catholic kids without mothers"

Keep praying the Rosary and ask Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother to pull something good out of this sad situation. As I have said in other replies:

God never allows anything to happen, that a greater good can't be pulled out of.

Our Blessed Mother is our, Mother of Mothers; ask her to guide you in your prayers.

Take care,

Mike

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