A Scottish archbishop is affirming that missing Mass is a grave sin.
On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi Sunday, Abp. Leo Cushley of St. Andrews and Edinburgh affirmed in a pastoral letter that the duty of attending Sunday Mass was binding under pain of sin, saying, "If we deliberately fail in this matter, it is a grave sin and we must go to confession before receiving communion again."
In his letter, the archbishop noted that there can be unavoidable circumstances preventing people from attending Mass but stated: "[Under] normal circumstances, attending Mass on Sunday is a solemn and binding obligation."
In a videotaped message the same day, the archbishop spoke about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: "Because Jesus is truly present on our altar, all the angels and saints gather with us on the feast too. We are caught up together in adoration of the Lamb of God, Who sacrificed Himself to take our sins away."
Polls show Mass attendance in Scotland has plummeted from 854,000 churchgoers in 1984 to less than 390,000 Mass attendees today.
The archbishop's remarks come in the wake of large-scale parish closures in his diocese owing to poor turnout by Catholics on Sunday. This year, the diocese intends on closing 40 percent of its 103 parishes.
In the past 50 years, Mass attendance around the world has fallen from three in four Catholics attending Mass weekly to less than one in four today.