As many of you may know from my prayer intentions thread I started a while back, my parents are nominally Catholic heretics. They believe that my autistic brother can communicate with “spirits” of people who have passed away and angels sent by God, that people have “auras” and “frequencies” that only he can see, that reincarnation is true, that he can read minds, along with many other things. They use the RPM method to “communicate” with him (it is a method with no scientific backing and no evidence). What really happens is that they manipulate the method unconsciously to make him say what they want. I could go on and on about this, but that’s not the purpose of the thread.
The purpose is that, sometimes, my brother will “say” that he is too tired to finish Mass and that we have to leave after Communion. My parents force me to comply, even though I repeatedly object and try to compromise. What has recently enraged me is that my brother most recently “said” that an “angel” who supposedly told him that God understands and is not angry with our constant interruption and leaving of Mass because He “knows our hearts.” I’ll probably start a thread dealing with the main issue with my family soon, but right now, advice and prayers pertaining to this larticular situation are desperately needed. Thank you.
Unless you are old enough to live on your own or able to drive yourself to Mass, you are probably stuck with them over leaving Mass. While it’s not great reasoning at all, you aren’t going to win by arguing with them over this.
Ok…Can you access a copy of “The Catechism of the Catholic Church”? Really, one priest said to us that every family really should have a copy for its own home in case of questions of faith, which surely there will always be. This is a worthwhile investment. The book will be around for years and years.
I think some of it can also be accessed online.
Sometimes, when one says…I disagree. It goes nowhere. It’s your opinion against hers. When trying to debate a fellow Catholic on matters of faith, you need some kind of authority. I’ve noticed, even on this forum, how…when someone has an issue, we will all go to our catechism to see what it says.
Get a copy of this book, in hand. Then approach your parents. Have the exact sections written down that you want to cover.
Go down the list…show them…The Catechism of the Catholic Church says…x, y, and z.
If they disagree on the points, tell them if they don’t believe you, they can also speak to any priest on these new age points and their validity.
However, we are not to dabble with mediums or any of that.
Now, I had an issue here in Mexico just the other day. A neighbor of mine, who insists he is Catholic, admitted to doing all kinds of things…astrology, something like tarot, limpiezas…something like mediumship.
I told him this was not okay. He said he thought it was fine. I asked him to give me a minute. I walked back to my house, got my Catechism book, came back, and showed him, paragraph by paragraph what the Catholic Church’s position was.
Then, his sister was all excited. She had been telling him for years the same thing I told him. However, she never thought to go with a book. She said after our discussion that he was at least to a point of reconsidering his position, something I don’t think had ever happened.
I once took a speech class in college. The teacher also taught a class on persuasive speech and said when we used evidence, it automatically made us more persuasive.
So, if your family would be open to listening to you on the Catechism, try showing them your argument. A library might even have its own copy of the Catechism if you don’t want to buy your own at this point.
People with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum often follow patterns. It may be an actual pattern for him to become tired after Communion. It can take helping him adjust to not follow this pattern.
Your parents may be pleased that your brother was able to attend Mass, even if he seemed unable to stay through the final dismissal.
Your parents may have many other areas in parenting your brother that this is one area that they are willing not to struggle with him over.
If you all ride in one car and your parents make the decision to leave when your brother makes this request, it is appropriate for you to obey and leave with them.
Depending on your age and your brother’s age and your brother’s disability, you may be able to help your brother to manage to stay in Mass longer.
Can you bring along a book or small toy to help your brother after Communion?
Is your brother comforted by “brushing” - a small brush used on those with sensory issues to brush their arms, legs, etc. and helps them to calm their senses?
Does your brother respond to joint compressions - can you do this on his arms, legs, hands, fingers, etc. to calm him so he is willing to stay until the final blessing?
If brushing and joint compressions are not part of his therapy, you might suggest your parents speak to his therapist to learn about them and how to properly use them.
How do you help your brother re-adjust to other situations? Can you apply that to patiently and lovingly responding to him after Communion?
Does your brother respond to social stories? Can you write a social story for going to Mass and leaving Mass and read this to him before Mass and during Mass?
Social stories help many people to understand what to expect and how to follow what will be expected. Your brother’s therapist or teacher may be able to write the Social Story if you and your parents are not accustomed to writing them for your dear brother.
May God bless your dear brother, you, and your parents, bringing you all peace, especially in areas where your brother suffers on the autism spectrum.
That is a crazy situation. You don’t say whether you are still a minor or a adult. If you are a adult, go to Mass on your own. If you are a minor and you cannot get to Mass by yourself, then it is not your fault and I don’t think arguing with your parents over it will be fruitful, since they believe it when your brother says that God says it is ok.
Your family situation is something I would tell to your Priest. Tell him what is going on. What you describe definitely warrants going out of your way to get a audience with him or at least talk to him over the phone and beg him to talk to your parents about these beliefs of theirs. Can you do that? However, I don’t want to encourage you to do that if there are going to be major, bad consequences from your parents toward you if you “Tell on” them. How do you think they would react you get your Priest to talk to them about their heretical beliefs? Prayer said.
I thank you all for you wonderful responses. Sadly, I am only 14, and I depend on them to transport me to and from Mass. As to the suggestion of showing them what the Catechism says, I doubt it would matter to either of them. My mom is a former member of the Church of Christ (NOT the Mormon one, the Protestant one), and she only became a member of the Catholic Church because she felt it was important to have one religion in the household. She disagrees with many of the doctrines of the Church, ranging from the Sacrament of Confession to extra ecclesiam nulla salus. She has refused to allow me to show her Biblical evidence for these doctrines. As to my father, he was raised Catholic, but has become of the “religion is man-made, personal spirituality is more important” mindset. He has told me that the Truth is “unknowable”, though he refuses to elaborate. Both of them seem to accept anything my brother “says” to them, and won’t listen when I try to disprove their personal man-made doctrines.
About the suggestion that leaving Mass early is an adapted repetitive behavior of my brother’s, this is very possible. However, the only evidence for this would be what my brother has supposedly used RPM to tell us, but as previously stated, RPM has no scientific backing and is most likely only a projection of what the person operating the method wants my brother to say. The things he has supposedly said advocate belief in New Age falsehoods such as reincarnation, spiritism, auras, and the like. I am very distressed about this, I fear that the radical heresies they espouse with full knowledge of the Church could land them a spot short of Heaven.
Your parents are doing your brother no favors at all. I see the need for some serious family counseling here, and you must decide how to handle that.
As far as leaving Mass after communion: I have been taught that it is rude. In addition you miss out on final blessings and prayers, the call to go out and serve others in the name of Christ, and the full affect of the Mass. Unless you are suddenly ill there should be no reason to leave the Mass early.
If you are a minor you are obligated to obey your parents, and can offer this to God in that spirit. If you are of age (18+) it may be time to establish your own life someplace else. You can always take this concern up in confession with your Priest. He may be able to advise you better as how to handle this, especially your parents notion that your brother has the mentioned abilities and contacts. I doubt he will find this a healthy idea.
He is sadly non-verbal. He can make sounds resembling words, but is mysteriously unable to correctly pronounce the full word. He, before we adapted RPM, used to use a modified version of ASL, but he was only able to use, at most, a strong of 2 signs together. For example, he could put the sign for “different” and “movie” together to say that he wanted to watch a different movie, but couldn’t string together anything else with that.
My parents do know the pastor very well, but they have never mentioned to him any of these ridiculous New Age ideas in which they believe nor have they mentioned the many practices against Catholic teaching, like leaving Mass early, which they do.
My guess is that confronting our priest about it privately would only earn me their wrath. However, I have suggested to my father that we talk to a priest about it, and he seems to agree with the idea. I think he expects the priest to agree with him, which is just ridiculous. If the priest disagrees (which he obviously will), I suspect that my father will simply disregard it.
You have many areas that are causing you discomfort within your family.
Trying to solve one or all of them is a lot in itself for anyone - an adult or youth.
Speak with your priest on how to accept your parents’ beliefs as their beliefs without causing you un-needed worries. You can pray for your parents, but it is the Holy Spirit who changes hearts.
You can pray and hope for change, but you want to learn to be in Peace in your own heart. You can not force others to hear the teachings of the Church. Remember even those who were in Jesus’ presence choose not to listen to Him.
On the subject of living with a brother with autism and who is non-verbal, that is a huge cross to bear for your dear brother, your dear parents, and yourself. The fact that you don’t approve of their parenting / communication style with your non-verbal brother causes even more stress with you.
Speak with your priest on how to help you to be at Peace with a brother who suffers highly on the autism spectrum.
Maybe you can ask your parents if you can attend events with other families affected with autism spectrum disorder.
Do you have someone you can discuss all your concerns with, someone who can help you be at peace while not trying to change your parents and how they parent your dear brother?
I am afraid it is time for me to sleep now (it’s 10:45 PM here, and I have to get up at 5:30 AM). Please continue to respond with prayers and advice. It looks like this thread is turning into one about my family’s beliefs, which I wholeheartedly invite. Please now that I will respond to your posts ASAP.
I agree with this. I teach autistic children and it is a wonder that some could sit quietly long enough for communion. I cannot speak to the rest of the original post, other than to say there are some good suggestions here.