Sin, Confession, and the mentally disabled


#1

I understand that in order for a sin to be a mortal sin, you have to have knowledge that it is one.

I have a 10 year old autistic child who’s thoughts on right and wrong are not necessarily the same as yours and mine. He doesn’t understand or see the world as we do. So from this understanding, even venial sins for us may not even be sins for him?

In trying to comprehend this, how does confession fit in?

He did go to first confession last year, we met with the Priest first, so that he knew our son, and would be able to help him out. In our church you can choose to sit behind a curtain or next to the priest. He sat right next to the priest. I do not know what he said, Father said “he did fine”

How often should he go to confession, when trying to explain confession to him, I’m not so sure he fully understands 1) what are sins 2) why he’s telling the Father his sins.

I would like him to experience the church as full as he possibly can, in hopes that some things get through. But I don’t know what to expect from him, or what the church expects from him?


#2

[quote=mommy]I understand that in order for a sin to be a mortal sin, you have to have knowledge that it is one.
[/quote]

Right. So looking at it in a positive light, God has granted your son with a gift of invincible ignorance.

God asks nothing of anyone that’s beyond their ability. Have faith and trust.

It sounds like you’re doing a great job!

(As for how often: at least once a year, as that is the canonical minimum. If you see benefit in more frequent confession for him, then do so!)


#3

You are concerned. You love that child. You took that child to meet the priest!

The priest said your son did just fine, that should be good enough.

Ask your son if he wants to go to confession more often. Maybe he knows more than you think.

Thank you for what you are doing.


#4

[quote=mommy]I
How often should he go to confession, when trying to explain confession to him, I’m not so sure he fully understands 1) what are sins 2) why he’s telling the Father his sins.

I would like him to experience the church as full as he possibly can, in hopes that some things get through. But I don’t know what to expect from him, or what the church expects from him?
[/quote]

God knows what to expect from him. He will experience it as much as he possibly can. Make sure that the priest that he goes to always knows him in advance, and understands the situation, and he will do fine.


#5

Thank you for your answers. I find the more I’ve learned in RCIA the more questions I have for me and for my son. I REALLY wish I had known more while my children where going through 1st communion and confession. I didn’t understand these things fully and now that I know and appreciate the sacraments, I can’t help feeling I had let my children down.


#6

It is important to stress over and over to parents that all children should be brought to the sacraments. It is especially critical to remind them – and catechists, priests and DREs – that those who are develomentally delayed, whose condition limits mental or intellectual capacity, are blessed in not having the intellectual barriers that many of us erect against the action of God in us. The Holy Spirit prepares these children directly for the sacraments, and He brings them into unity with the Trinity through the inner workings of the soul. Assent and understanding of the intellect are not prerequisites for union with God. Each person is created with the ability and need for union with God, and is capable of that unity, which is always the gift of God, not the outcome of the actions and abilities of the person. These children are intensely effective evangelizers, as anyone who has worked with them can attest.


#7

[quote=mommy] I can’t help feeling I had let my children down.
[/quote]

Interesting choice of words. It brings to mind:

Mark 2: 1: And when he returned to Caper’na-um after some days, it was reported that he was at home.
2: And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them.
3: And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
4: And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay.
5: And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”

You didn’t let a paralytic down, you let an autistic child, the son you love, down “through the roof” to bring him to Christ.

Notice that “when Jesus saw their faith” He forgave the sins of the one brought to Him.

Your faith is a saving faith for yourself and others.

God’s grace is powerfully at work here, as God has blessed your children with a wonderful mother.

Peace in Christ…Salmon


#8

Salmon, I thank you, your post was beautiful. I don’t feel worthy of it, but it does help put a perspective on everything.

My son has taught me so much over the years, I really am thankful for this blessing. But you know, the mommy in me will always worry - I think it’s just learning what things I should worry about and what things I should just put in God’s hands and know they will be fine.


#9

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