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September 13, 2006



I just want to second Jimmy's suggestion about calling the rectory to see if it would be possible to arrange a ride. Even if the priest or secretary has no on in mind immediately, inquiries can be made. In the past, I have seen notices in the bulletin asking for help from parishioners to get homebound people rides to Sunday Mass. I think most of us would consider it a privilege, not an imposition, to help out in a situation like yours.


I applaud your even handed reply.

I have a brother in law with a similar situation. My wife got pretty steamed last time we were there given a relatively negative attitude about him converting.

Your comments give me something to think about...

Kathy Haas

A few years ago, I had the privilege of providing transportation to/from Mass for a parishioner with disabilities. On one occasion, she wanted to go to Confession. So I parked near the rectory and walked down the block. Father came out to the car to hear her confession. We joked about her going to "drive-through confession".

Paul H

I agree with the previous comment. Surely there must be someone who attends your local Catholic parish who would be happy to give you a ride to church. I hope and pray that there is, and that you are able to find them.


Quote: "I am conscious of having committed mortal sin since my last confession. Since I don’t have access to the confessional the moment, is there anything else I can or should be doing besides privately repenting and trusting in God’s grace?"

Jimmy, this brings up a question. Is an online confession with a priest a valid confession?

If so, do any sites offer them?


There is more than prudence involved here. If people are aware that this reader is Catholic (and at least his parents do) and see him sitting quietly by without protest as anti-Catholic lies, lies directed at the authentic Body of Christ, are hurled from the pulpit, he would be guilty of scandal.

This sends the message that [insert anti-Catholic lie here] must be true, or at least within the realm of acceptable opinion, otherwise [the reader in question] wouldn't put up with it.

At the very least it causes grave scandal with respect to the reader's parents, who are depriving him of Christ's Real Presence. He or she should make clear that it's not okay to do this, and that taking him/her to their own false church is no substitute.

It's always interesting when Dear Prudence rears her convenient head.


I just wanted to let you (the reader) know that I've met other Catholics with disabilities in your situation. The advice given here is awesome. If you'd like join us over at Wheelie Catholic - to meet other Catholics with disabilities.

Amy P.

First, I pray that this person's parents are able and willing to respect and tolerate his/her religious faith. There is nothing more difficult than facing a loved one who strongly objects to your conversion.

When I converted from Protestant to Catholic, I was fortunate that my family supported me - however, the pastor at my former church was not. He strongly urged me not to convert and said we needed to meet to discuss the Biblical basis why my conversion would put my soul in danger of eternal damnation. No joking.

Needless to say, I never called him back and went ahead with my conversion.

As for discussing errors with the anti-Catholic pastor...I know from experience that it may not work. After my conversion, we were at a family function where the pastor said that Catholics intentionally chained the Bible up in churches to keep it from the masses.

My husband and I wrote him a very nice, polite email about his error after the event since we could not talk to him on the day in question. We NEVER got a reply. Not even so much as a "Thanks for your email". But it wouldn't surprise me if we were the topic of a subsequent sermon.

Tim, with regard to online confessions, that opens up the danger of hackers or others with ill-motives hacking and breaking the seal of the confessional. There are other ways to hold confession, and online isn't one of them.


Although I only need alternative transportation to Mass when my motorized chair is broken, I sympathize with your plight.

The most important thing is the state of your soul. Call the priest and arrange for that confession. (I am asking you to do as I say, more than what I do. I also need to arrange for personal confession -- wheelchairs don't fit in old-style confessionals -- and I don't do so often enough. Thanks for making me need to be a good example.)

Since you were able to correspond with Jimmy, you are able to use the computer. Find the number of the nearest Independent Living Center to you, and find out if there is door-to-door accessible paratransit in your community. Such transportation could get you to church for a small fee. It is not good as a permanent solution, but may be helpful to you. If you can't find an independent living center, talk to whoever handled Disability Services at your college, and they can perhaps point you in the right direction.

The people at the independent living center can also help you assess some other ways to receive daily assistance through helpers other than through your parents. Or it may be that living in this "mini-persecution" is your share in the sufferings of Christ.

Please know that I (and many others) are praying for your situation. If you'd like to get in touch personally, click on the link of my name.

Oh, and a side note to Margaret; I wish it were so, but in my esperience, asking for a ride to Mass is often a losing proposition. My wheelchair is too heavy or awkward for many people to lift; it may not fit in their car trunk; many people now have high SUVs that I can't get in and out of. People are willing in the abstract, but when it comes down to it, there are many barriers that mean they can't or won't actually follow through.


interesting dilemma...SUV's/vans are too high to get into and cars can't fit the wheelchair.

I wonder if they could get someone with a van to put the wheelchair in back and then someone with a car to give the person a ride. They would have to come at the same time though. It would take some coordination, and more volunteers, but just a thought.


So here's an interesting question. Say a strong Catholic has a child that converted to some other religion and wants to go to something like a Mormon, Hindu, Protestant, Hyper-AntiCatholic Protestant, etc.. type of service. (and that child is obviously in a similar situation as in the e-mail above...) Where should lines be drawn?

Susan Peterson

I also would like to point out that it may be possible for the writer of this question to become independent of his or her parents. Depending on what state one lives in, there are many services available to the disabled to enable them to live independently. A barrier to obtaining such services might be his/her parents income level. If he/she, were independent, he (I will just use 'he' from now on for simplicity) would be eligible for all kinds of support services to help him remain independent-but how can he begin to be independent? The Center for Independent Living would be a good place to start to find out what the legal situation is in his state. His parents may be willing to bring him there if he presents this as a way to access some service which they think is valuable to him; for instance, socialization type events, or free wheelchair adjustments, whatever. Then he can ask the folks at the Center for Independent Living if they can help him actually live on his own.

(For instance Pennsylvania will supply aides to cook, clean, and shop for disabled people living independently, and to transport them. Some people have also been provided with handicapped accessable vans, with W/C lifts and hand controls. )

I might point out that preventing an adult in one's care from attending the church of his choice constitutes abuse, and that people who need assistance to get free of a situation considered abusive by the law, are entitled to all sorts of assistance. This might be the push that would start the process of obtaining real independence rolling.

The writer's parents may be acting according to their own consciences, may actually love the writer and believe they are doing the right thing, meaning him good and not harm. However this situation nevertheless IS abusive, and should not be accepted.

Susan Peterson



Good point. I wasn't thinking so much along the lines of a bulky motorized wheelchair as more of the frail/elderly types, who need a hand getting walked down the front steps of the house, comfortably settled in the car, help up the steps at church, etc.

In a situation like you describe, the local para-transit service (if it's available) would make more sense, or else a VERY DETAILED bulletin announcement, specifying the extra cargo room and low clearance requirements...

Susan Peterson

DJ- If the son or daughter is an adult, the parents should transmit the adult in their care to the religious service of his or her choice, no matter what they think or feel about it.

There might be an exception if the adult were mentally limited and the parents believed he was enticed to this other religious group by false inducements he was not capable of making a good judgment about. In that kind of case sometimes a guardian has to be appointed by the courts to make this sort of judgment.

An adult who is not mentally limited should be helped to attend the religious services of his or her choice. And really, saying, "We think you are mistaken to leave the Catholic Church, because we believe the Catholic religion is true, and has more of the fullness of truth than you will find at Evangelical Free Baptist, even if the people at EFB are more excited about Jesus than the Catholics you know seem to be, but since you are an adult and this is what you have decided, we will drive you to EFB as long as you want to go there." will make it easier for the adult child to change his mind and return to Catholicism than if the parents made this the issue of a power struggle.

Susan Peterson


I will write this on my prayer list.

John E

It's a little vague to me as to this person's restrictions. It sounds like there may be some mobility since he was at college and occasionally was dropped off at Mass, if I'm reading this correctly.

Some ideas:
1. have your parents drop you off at a neutral site, such as a library, where a priest could meet you in a private place to hear your confession and give you the Eucharist.

2. befriend someone that you can stay with long enough to have the priest meet you at his house, or to have the friend take you to Mass.

Dr. Eric

If the person who wrote the question lives in South East Missouri, I will help him/her get to Mass.

Matt McDonald

What area does the poster live in? I'm sure someone here could help or would know someone who can.

God Bless!

Some Day

I would defend the Church valiently and POWERFULY,
because then you would get thrown out of the protestant church and won't have to get brain-washed by a protestonto. It gave great pleasure to see that the person desires the Sacraments and feels the effects of their absence. I strongly suggest lots of Spiritual Communions, which can even sometimes have a greater "effect"than the Saramental Communion.
May God bless this person in this and give success to his desire.

Ken Crawford

Yes, there's got to be someone in this person's area who reads this blog... I live in the Sacramento, CA area (Roseville specifically) and would feel privileged to help him/her get to Mass/Confession.


I am the original author of the email. First, thanks to all of you for your support. Secondly, there have been some questions about my location. I live in Upstate South Carolina (Anderson/Oconee area). If any locals think they can help, please email me.

Some Day

May Our Lady give blessings to your desires of Heavenly things!
I would be miserable hearing a protestant take shots at the Church. Not only miserable but angry and would want to do as St.Micheal.
And then give him what he deserves.
But that would be imprudent.
And Our Lady will give you special graces of state that no other will recieve.
So stay strong and don't disanimate.
But if you deem it wise, you don't have to go to protestant church if protestant pastor kicks you out.
That is risky, yet phenomenal.
I'll pray for you, because you just taught me something about tribulations...
That Our Lady gives us more than we expected after we cross the deserts of probations.


I wonder if someone with a station wagon could handle the dual dilemma of cargo space and accessibility? My station wagon has hauled, on various occasions, two different love seats and a dresser...I would volunteer myself, but I'm in Michigan.

J.R. Stoodley

I'm afraid I don't have a citation for this, but online confessions are certainly invalid. Same with phone confessions. Fr. Mitch Pacwa said this on EWTN, and it makes sense. You have to be able to actually hear the priest speak (and not just an electronic replication of his voice) to hear Jesus speak through him, giving you absolution. While I know priests generally discourage confessions right before mass, perhaps if Jill contacts the priest beforehand he will make an exception in this unusual case.

Dorian Speed

Jill, I will be praying for you.


You have to be able to actually hear the priest speak (and not just an electronic replication of his voice) to hear Jesus speak through him

No electronic replication? Then what about people with hearing aids.

To the questioner: My next Mass will be offered for you.

Jeff Tan

God bless you, Jill. Rest easy that God understands. Just continue to do what you reasonably can, and trust in His love always.

J.R. Stoodley

No electronic replication? Then what about people with hearing aids.

I hadn't thought of that. The important point though is that phone confessions are "phony" (Fr Pacwa's pun not mine) and internet confessions presumably more so. You need to be in the presence of the priest, actually telling him your sins and being absolved of them in person. I suppose the actual hearing of the priest's voice might not be an essential part of the sacrament.

Ma Bell

I hear 20 paces is the standard distance of presence. I wonder if some priests command a greater presence. Maybe some are telepathic.

Mary Kay

Jill, when I read this thread, my first thought was independent living and not just because of the Catholic versus Protestant issue.

But even if that is something to aim for (and it may well be not feasible for you), that's a long process.

In the meantime, there are good suggestions here about contacting the parish because the sacraments are so very important.

Even aside from that, you may want to consider praying the Liturgy of the Hours -there's a one volume called Shorter Christian Prayer - and be aware of the liturgical year (EWTN and Amy Welborn among others usually note special days).

Mary Kay

For Huh, the requirement for a sacrament is physical presence. That makes hearing aids okay, but phone and internet not.

Jill, I pray you don't dismay with all the difficulties you are facing, and for you to continue with courage living with your cross.
EWTN broadcasts three Masses at day which there are highly inspired.


My husband's pastor used to make anti-Catholic comments in his sermons. I wrote him a polite letter on each occassion explaining the teaching he criticized. He's stopped his comments not by being conviced, I believe, but to avoid the annoyance!

Tim J.

"You have to be able to actually hear the priest speak (and not just an electronic replication of his voice) to hear Jesus speak through him, giving you absolution."

Obviously, I see a problem with this, as well. Can deaf people not receive absolution? I think the primary thing is to be in the physical presence of the priest.


Dear Jill--In addition to all of the wonderful suggestions already mentioned, if you have a rosary--please do pray it. I know our Lady is a very powerful advocate, especially in such spiritually desperate cases. Also, offer all of your sufferings to God, and be at peace. I will pray for you.


Some Day-

While I certainly appreciate your enthusiasm for the faith and our Lord,

statements like:

"because then you would get thrown out of the protestant church and won't have to get brain-washed by a protestonto."

are, frankly, rather ecumenically unacceptable terms in which to describe our brothers and sisters in the BAPTISM OF CHRIST.

but, way to be enthusiastic!


oops! I left on the italics,and I don't know how to get them off! I'm sorry!


just cleaning up




one more time

El S.

Hopefully that took care of it...

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