Skip to main contentAccessibility feedback
Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world’s largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy, fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. If you’ve never made a gift, now is the time. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar this week only. Thanks and God bless.
Dear catholic.com visitors: This Catholic Answers website, with all its free resources, is the world’s largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. We receive no funding from the institutional Church and rely entirely on your generosity to sustain this website with trustworthy, accessible content. If every visitor this month donated $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. If you’ve never made a gift, now is the time. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar this week only. Thanks and God bless.

Must I take my preschoolers to Mass?

Question:

I have two preschool-age children. I leave the girls at home with my non-Catholic husband because it is easier to go to church without the children in tow, and I can concentrate better when by myself. Should I be taking the children with me?

Answer:

Although young children are welcome at Mass, the obligation to attend does not bind those under seven years old. The Church’s law obligating Catholics to go to Mass is canon 1247: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.”

This law does not expressly state an age at which the faithful become obliged to follow it, but canon 11 tells us, “Merely ecclesiastical laws bind those who have been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it, possess the efficient use of reason, and, unless the law expressly provides otherwise, have completed seven years of age.”

So, since canon 1247 (a merely ecclesiastical law) does not expressly provide otherwise, it binds only those who have completed seven years of age (and who also meet the other requirements mentioned in canon 11).

 

Did you like this content? Please help keep us ad-free
Enjoying this content?  Please support our mission!Donatewww.catholic.com/support-us