Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shouldn't all children be welcomed into the Catholic Church? Especially those with Special Needs?

I will preface this post with a quick note that I am not an expert on the Catholic Church.  I am just a wife (married in the Catholic Church) and a mom with a child with Down Syndrome.  I also consider myself a member of the Catholic Church.  So, read on if you dare about the controversy right now about a boy being denied his first communion just because he has an extra chromosome.  What are your thoughts?

From the Huffington Post

Denum Ellarby Refused Communion Because He Has Down Syndrome, Parents Say

Clare Ellarby says her child wasn't allowed to take his first Holy Communion because he has Down Syndrome.
In a letter from the Diocese of Leeds, Ellarby was told that her seven-year-old Denum Ellarby lacks the "concentration" necessary to prepare for Communion, according to the BBC. The Diocese also said children can "only proceed to the sacrament of First Communion when they take part in the Church's life and understand the Church's faith".
"It's just disgusting," Ellarby told the BBC. "I feel really let down by the Catholic faith."
A spokesperson for the diocese told the Catholic Herald "Denum's family has not participated in the regular life of the Church or in the preparation preceding First Communion. We hope that this will change as Denum grows and we are working with him and his family to help him achieve this."
The Christian Post reports that Clare and Denum's father Darren have started a petition in support of their son.
"They need to have more compassion," Clare Ellarby told the Post. "What they are doing is so cruel."

In Family's Church Complaint, Boy's Down's Syndrome Plays Role

By Medical Daily Reporter

The parents of a seven-year old boy with Down’s Syndrome are criticizing the Roman Catholic Church for not allowing him to take his first Holy Communion.
The Diocese of Leeds told the child’s mother, Clare Ellarby in a letter that her son Denum had “limited concentration” and was not prepared for the sacrament, according a Thursday report by the BBC.
The mother spoke out about the situation.
“It’s just disgusting. I feel really let down by the Catholic faith,” she said.
Denum is a student at St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School and attends St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Batley.
Denum has “limited concentration, doesn’t really access the RE curriculum and does not enjoy going to Mass,” the Diocese wrote in the letter.
The church recommended that Denum take his first Holy Communion when he was “better placed to understand” it. That would “enrich his whole experience,” according to the letter.
The diocese said children could only take part in the sacrament when “they take part in the Church’s life and understand the Church’s faith.”
The diocese said Denum had not done that.
“We hope that this will change as Denum grows and we are working with him and his family to help him achieve this,” the diocese wrote.
The Dewsbury Reporter said Xanthe Breen of the Down's Syndrome Association has been speaking with the family abou their concerns. "It's not something we have ever heard before. It's a shame all parties can't come to a compromise."
Be gentle.

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