But this post (my first in a long time) isn't going to be about missing church (though I have been doing that an awful lot lately), but more about how difficult it is in some instances to tell others that it's a mortal sin to miss church.
I recently sent a friend of mine this video by a young Catholic woman, talking about how missing mass on Sunday and holy days of obligation is a mortal sin. It's a good video - my other friends have referred to her as a "female Michael Vorris" - and I thought my friend, being a religion teacher, might find it useful for the classroom.
Their response however was, "it's a bit strong to call missing mass a mortal sin".
"Strong yes, but not incorrect."
"Well then my family is going to hell."
Not that anyone can know that for certain, but after some more talking, I found the deeper reason for this attitude towards attending mass - my friend's late mother was not a regular attendant of mass either. To admit that skipping church is a mortal sin is to face the possibility that their mother might be in hell at this very moment, a thought most people would rather avoid. It's possible that this incident is at the center of the family's lax attitude towards faith.
I admit that I was weak in proclaiming the truth of church teachings, and dropped the issue. I feared ... something. Perhaps pushing them away from their faith, or just damaging my own relationship with this person. Reflecting back upon this issue, I can understand why today priests may be more hesitant to be strong with the church teachings, but that is no excuse, and I certainly feel shame and regret for not insisting further.
Perhaps I will be able to redeem myself and help my friend's faith develop in the future. I can only hope and pray for such an opportunity.