The answers to every single question can be read in bold after every single point reported on the email.
Dear Father Angelo!
I would like to ask a question related to many other similar questions that I read every day on your website.
It concerns not attending Mass on Holy Days. If committed, we know that not going to Mass on those days is a gravely sinful act and, taking Holy Communion without mentioning this sin in a prior Confession would be sacrilegious.
Well, I’m not saying a few but the vast majority of practicing people I know skip some Sunday or Holy Day Mass without a good enough reason and then they receive Holy Communion anyway without taking this act seriously, even if it is mentioned in the catechism. So we are dealing, some might say, with a constant sacrilege that involves a large number of people. In my daughter’s class (she’s 14 years old) nobody, I mean nobody, goes to Mass on Sunday but the whole class takes Holy Communion without any concern during the Mass which is celebrated at school every now and then on the occasion of some Holy Days. Is it a sacrilegious class?
If they have not previously confessed a grave sin, they will certainly receive a sacrilegious Communion.
But we cannot speak of a sacrilegious class. It would be so only if the class as such, and not simply as a sum of individuals, makes a sacrilege.
When I discussed with my daughter about the need, this year (2017), to attend 2 masses on December 24th, since Christmas Eve was on a Sunday, I reminded her that it is a grave sin not to go to Mass and I mentioned that afterwards she will not be able to receive Holy Communion, she replied “What’s the problem? I will confess that” – this is really taken so lightly as all her friends do the same. It would be sacrilege after sacrilege.
Luckily she changed her mind and went to church twice, but I guess it is a fairly common way of thinking and not only at her age.
So can it be said that generally few people live in the grace of God?
We do not know for certain, especially in reference to individuals.
The Lord’s response to the question of whether there are so many who are saved is certainly impressive.
Here is what we read in the Gospel:
“Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them:
«Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying: «Lord, open the door for us!»
He will say to you in reply, «I do not know where you are from».
And you will say: «We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets».
Then he will say to you: «I do not know where (you) are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!»” (Luke 13,23-26)”.
Is it really a sin that breaks the bond of friendship with God, like adultery or murder?
This doubt came to me due to the fact that, as I have known, some Holy Days of obligation are not observed in other countries and even the list of Holy Days of obligation is not the same when we compare the Code of Canon Law with the Code of Canon Law of Eastern Churches.
The Episcopal Conferences can remove or add Holy Days of obligation. In some countries, e.g. Muslim countries, the Episcopal Conferences have greatly reduced the list for obvious reasons. Clearly, this does not concern Italy where we have all the freedom and all the possibilities to celebrate Mass, but the fact that it can change according to the circumstances shows that it is not a question of divine law but of ecclesiastical law. I’m not talking about Sundays – I have no doubt about them. I speak of Holy Days of obligation. Being precepts of the Church they can be changed, as, for example, the attitude of the Church towards abstinence from animal meat has changed. In some countries it is still considered a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays. That is, once eating meat Friday deprived of the grace of God and nowadays this is not happening anymore?
Among serious sins some are more serious than others.
This does not mean that the immediate effect, meaning self-exclusion from communion with God, is immediate for everyone.
Fow what concerns the effects, some have more serious effects than others.
Could it be the same with the Holy Days of obligation?
The Church can change its precepts.
And it can also establish whether the transgression of one of its precepts is to be considered serious or not.
We must not forget that Christ has given the Church very great powers.
He authorized the Church to teach and govern the believers.
Not only that, but He also said that He supports in Heaven what the Church decides on earth:
“I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18,18).
And He also said: “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Luke 10,16).
Can you explain, Father, what happens if a faithful does not attend Mass on a Holy Day of obligation such as, for example, on August 15?
It is a positive precept, that is, we know what the positive effects of the Mass are.
But I can’t understand why, if August 14 is Sunday and we receive the Eucharist, the next day suddenly deprives ourselves of God’s grace if we choose to spend the public holiday out of town well aware that we will not be able to go to Mass.
Now I would like to ask you: is it true that if you eat on August 14 and are in good health, the next day – August 15 – you could die even from a trivial slip in the bathtub?
What happens in the life of the body, can’t it also happen for the life of the soul?
By choosing a place for August 15 where we know that we cannot celebrate the Holy Day of Our Lady assumed into Heaven is not a sign that we are of little interest in what the Lord wants to communicate to us on that most solemn day?
Isn’t it the contempt of a grace and even a great one?
We must not look at the precepts with a juridical approach, corresponding to the attitude of where one can avoid them and where one cannot because it really puts aside the relationship of love and communion with the Lord.
It seems there isn’t much interest in the grace that we receive and the communion that we live, but the focus is on whether one has committed a sin or not.
It is true that in this case we deprive ourselves of the effects of the Eucharist but it is difficult to understand why we deprive ourselves of the grace of God.
What really happens in a soul who decides not to go to Mass on Monday, August 15, compared to a soul who decides not to go to Mass on Monday, August 22?
Some might wonder if the Church has the power to establish that August 15 is a Holy Day in all respects in honor of the Blessed Mother assumed into Heaven.
Now, as stated above, the answer is clearly affirmative.
It is true that the Mass as a sacrifice of Christ is the same that is celebrated the day after which could be a weekday. However, on August 15 a special grace is given. It is the grace of the Assumption, which is not only a great grace, but a huge one.
Try reading the following answer published some time ago:
In both cases we consciously decide to be deprived of the benefits that derive from the Eucharist but on the liturgical Holy Day of the Assumption it is a serious decision while on the Holy Day of the Nativity of the Mother of God it is not?
The same answer that I have just written applies.
I add that even though it is not a precept to live the grace of the Nativity of Mary, many want to live it and do everything to receive it.
Thank you very much for your reply and Merry Christmas! (2017).
I am replying to your message while we’re approaching August 15.
I wish you a feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven full of graces.
I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.