My son, age 9, has high-functioning autism. While I have been successfully taking him to Mass for several years now, I was not able to take him on All Saints Day. Like many people with autism, he is extremely insistent on routine, and had a meltdown when I tried to take him to Mass, because he typically doesn’t go to Mass on Fridays, only on Sundays.
Did I commit a mortal sin by not taking him? Did he commit one, by refusing to go? He has made his First Reconciliation and his First Communion.
Incorrect. Not a sin because your son was impeded by health reasons and you were charged with his care. There is nothing to confess and nothing to be sorry for here. You are certainly encouraged to seek ways to manage your son to coax him into attending church on Holy Days in the future, but there was nothing you could do in this instance.
Speaking to your priest would probably make you feel better as well.
Would it help your son cope if you started preparing him in advance for HDOs? Mark them on the calendar and point them out a week or so in advance? Perhaps also teaching him more about what the day is about and what we are celebrating?
I assume he doesn’t have a problem going to Mass on Christmas so perhaps helping him to anticipate the Holy Days would help.
Thanks, everyone, for your helpful suggestions. I believe I may have been able to coax my son into going with a bit more preparation, which I will be sure to do before the next HDO comes up. Likening these days to Christmas might help, because he knows we always go to the children’s Christmas Eve Mass, regardless of which weekday it is.
It had nothing to do with wanting or not wanting to go to Mass- only with not wanting to break his routine. Prepare him for planned deviations from the routine. Mention it a few weeks in advance, remind him daily during that week, and remind him a few times a day for a few days before and on the day itself. That seems like a lot, but it is important that he knows what to expect.
I don’t think either of you committed a mortal sin in this case. He had no intention to miss mass- he just couldn’t cope with the change in routine. You had no intention to miss Mass- you just had to care for your child.
[quote=Elizium23]Incorrect. Not a sin because your son was impeded by health reasons and you were charged with his care. There is nothing to confess and nothing to be sorry for here. You are certainly encouraged to seek ways to manage your son to coax him into attending church on Holy Days in the future, but there was nothing you could do in this instance.
It doesn’t need to be confessed due to sinfulness (because there were circumstances beyond their control here), but they might find it helpful to discuss it with the priest for advice on how to handle the situation so that things don’t turn out this way again.
God is not a tyrant. Trust in His mercy. You have the care of a child with a difficult condition, God understands.
Far be it from me to tell you if you should try to convince him to attend Mass outside of his routine, or not. I have no expertise on the matter. But I will suggest that whatever you do you put him first, and do it for his sake, not yours. If he can’t be coaxed into going, offer it up. God will understand.