Tagged with: advocate Cerebral Palsy disability discrimination
If you are Catholic, then the “Blessed Sacrament” is part of every Mass. Receiving the Holy Communion is an important part of Catholic, and other Christian, beliefs. What if a priest were to decide you were not able to comprehend what Holy Communion means? Can a priest look inside to read a person’s heart and make such a judgment call? Well, one priest in Texas did just that and refused to give communion to a child with cerebral palsy.
Irma Castro said she spent months getting her 8-year-old grandson, Kevin, ready for his first communion. But the priest at her Floresville, Texas, church refused to let Kevin participate in the Blessed Sacrament. Castro said Father Phil Henning refused and told her it was because Kevin has cerebral palsy, KSAT reported. According to Castro, Father Henning said that he did not believe Kevin had “sufficient knowledge” of Christ which is a requirement for first communion.
Father Henning of Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Floresville told Castro that Kevin has the mental capacity of a 6-month-old which meant Kevin “was not able to understand the meaning of receiving the body of Christ.” Instead, Father Henning offered an “alternative” to first communion. He offered the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.
Castro called the offer “offensive” since that blessing is normally reserved for those who are facing death. She is outraged that her grandson cannot participate in the religious milestone of first communion because the priest deems it so. She feels like her grandson is being discriminated against. This has caused her no small amount of hurt for her grandson. She said it makes her question not only the priest, but also her faith.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio, Deacon Pat Rodgers, had said the decision is usually left up to the pastor. He added, “It’s never our desire, hope or wish to withhold a sacrament from someone who wants or needs it.”
Do you believe that all children should be allowed to receive communion? Do you believe the priest is correct or that he knows this boy’s heart? The story does not specify what kind of preparations the grandmother worked on with her grandson for months. Not being Catholic, I don’t know all the ins and outs of their faith. If the hurt of this is making the grandmother question her faith, perhaps it is time to go above the archdiocese in San Antonio? Or perhaps it’s time to find a different church?
Image credit: GViciano