Dispensation concerning physical pain given?


Scenario: A man with bad arthritis in his knees travels to his local parish in order to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. However, he is ultimately discouraged by the terrible pain in his knees, the long line for confession, and the reality that the sole available confessor has only an hour each weekend to hear confessions. Can a CAF member tell me whether or not the man is eligible for a dispensation because of his chronic pain issues? Keep in mind that the man at least made the effort to travel to the parish in order to have his confession heard.


A dispensation from what? From kneeling during confession? Or from going to confession itself?

If the former, many parishes offer face-to-face confession.

If the latter, no such dispensation exists, as every Catholic should go to confession. The man would have to schedule an appointment with the priest, and if the priest isn’t available, he will have to find another priest. You will be surprised at how many priests would be willing to travel far just to hear someone’s confession.

Plus, he could just sit in a pew while he is waiting.


Anyone can ask for an appointment for Confession or ask a priest before or after Mass. There is no requirement to kneel during confession.


Many Parishes now have chairs in the confessionals for those who are unable to kneel. Ask your Parish if they are able to accomodate you.


No dispensation exists from going to confession. I am sure the good Lord knows of his pain and would take his attempt as an act of complete contrition, but we are called to confession as often as possible. He should speak to a kind priest who may visit him in his home. But such personal care nowadays is as scarce as expecting a visit from the Pope.


The man can call for an appointment any time or if he is truly disabled, he can request a priest come to his house to hear his confession. He could have also asked the person standing behind him in line to save his place and sat down for a while.


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