Church denies Communion to autistic boy

#1

azcentral.com/news/articles/0304communion0304.html

The Catholic Church has told the parents of a 10-year-old autistic boy that, because the child cannot consume the host, he is not receiving Communion properly. Until he does, church officials say, he cannot partake of the church’s most meaningful sacrament.

According to a letter from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, delivered to the Lake Havasu City family on Feb. 12, the boy cannot accept Communion in the Catholic Church until he can “actually receive the Eucharist, actually take and eat.”

Comments? Thoughts?

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#2

According to the article,

Phoenix Diocese officials contend that Matthew has not been prohibited from Communion, only that the bishop is “not able to approve the present practice,”

The “present practice” is that the parent takes the host out of the child’s mouth and consumes it himself. That’s absurd.

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#3

If this boy cannot receive because he won’t swallow even a crumb or a drop of wine, he should never have been presented for communion in the first place, then the child would not feel he is missing out on anything. Receiving communion for those who cannot is not a requirement–only receiving once a year for those who can is required, as I understand it. These parents shouldn’t have expected their child to try to do what they knew he couldn’t do, and I don’t buy the idea that his not receiving is harmful to him or the “God will understand if he spits out” kind of thinking. It is obvious that these people have missed the whole point of receiving communion and are thinking of it as some kind of right instead of a privilege given by the Church to those able to receive it.

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#4

I would want to know what this boy is living off of for sustenance then.
If there is any bread whatsoever in his diet then a crumb of consecrated host should suffice or 1 drop of wine.

I know the father says the boy would never consume either, but the boy already allows the whole host to rest on his tongue in his mouth. Why wouldn’t he allow a crumb to rest on his tongue and dissolve naturally?

The diocese is willing to work with the family to help find a solution and yet there is no statement by the family about cooperating with the diocese in that manner.

Something’s fishy about the story.

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#5

My Autistic son takes communion. He has also been confirmed.

I don’t know the whole story here but the disabled have as much ‘right’ to the sacrements as anyone else.

I won’t judge the parents as the whole story is not known…perhaps they are just doing the best they know how…

I worked with my son on receiving…he does well…

ps. If the boy can’t receive the host…then maybe he could the 'Cup".

Some of your replies…well it kind of makes me feel sad and disappointed. But as I said the whole truth isn’t known…

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#6

This situation has hit home locally so to speak. I have a daughter with Down Syndrom and because of this my family belongs to a group called the DS Network here in Arizona. We have a women who claims to be a practicing Catholic who is encouraging a letter writing campaign to the Bishop to protest his decision. Does anyone have any references to church documents to clearly support the Bishop in this?

Thanks for any help in this matter.

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#7

The boy has never been receiving communion anyway, if he has never consumed the host. It is in the actual consumption of the host that we participate in the new and everlasting Conenant that Jesus instituted at the Last Supper.

The parents have a flawed understanding of the Eucharist and I agree with Della that he should never have been eligible to make his First Communion at all. In fact, he still hasn’t apparently.

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#8

I am a parent of a girl with Down Syndrome, and I don’t feel saddened at all. If I knew my daughter could not swallow, I would not have allowed her to be presented for 1st Communion in the first place. The father clearly states that the boy “Spits” out not only the Host, but the Precious Blood as well. Spitting out the Host is not receiving the Holy Eucharist the way Jesus taught us in the book of Matthew.

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#9

[quote=RichT]This situation has hit home locally so to speak. I have a daughter with Down Syndrom and because of this my family belongs to a group called the DS Network here in Arizona. We have a women who claims to be a practicing Catholic who is encouraging a letter writing campaign to the Bishop to protest his decision. Does anyone have any references to church documents to clearly support the Bishop in this?

Thanks for any help in this matter.
[/quote]

Please find out all you can…your daughter and others have the right the same as anyone else…I don’t mean they should be dis respectful and effort to teach properly should be made…
It would seem some shouldn’t be so judgemental…now I will leave this thread because I feel …sad …

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#10

[quote=RichT]I am a parent of a girl with Down Syndrome, and I don’t feel saddened at all. If I knew my daughter could not swallow, I would not have allowed her to be presented for 1st Communion in the first place. The father clearly states that the boy “Spits” out not only the Host, but the Precious Blood as well. Spitting out the Host is not receiving the Holy Eucharist the way Jesus taught us in the book of Matthew.
[/quote]

God Bless you… :wave:

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#11

Marriage is a sacrament also. Does anyone here believe that, although this boy has a right to the sacraments, he will be able to fullfill the expectations of the sacrament of marriage–as prescribed by the Catholic Church?

There is at least one thread in these very forums where responders assert that a paraplegic man can not marry. Thus, directly due to a disability this man can be denied a sacrament.

What makes this situation different?

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#12

[quote=aimee]Please find out all you can…your daughter and others have the right the same as anyone else…I don’t mean they should be dis respectful and effort to teach properly should be made…
It would seem some shouldn’t be so judgemental…now I will leave this thread because I feel …sad …
[/quote]

Yes they do have the same rights as everyone else, however, receiving the Eucharist is not a right. This is not a question of one’s rights, but a question of whether or not the boy can actually receive the Eucharist or not. Although he is clearly limited by his Autism, this isn’t about his disability directly. We are taught by Jesus to "Take this, all of you, and eat it. To eat means to consume or to swallow. I feel for this family and for this little boy, but at the same time, I am confident that God will not punish him in any way for not being able to receive the Eucharist. You should not be saddened because the Bishop has said he can not receive. The Bishop is doing his job by protecting the Blessed Sacrament.

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#13

[quote=coyote]Marriage is a sacrament also. Does anyone here believe that, although this boy has a right to the sacraments, he will be able to fullfill the expectations of the sacrament of marriage–as prescribed by the Catholic Church?

There is at least one thread in these very forums where responders assert that a paraplegic man can not marry. Thus, directly due to a disability this man can be denied a sacrament.

What makes this situation different?
[/quote]

The mere fact that he can not swallow means that he is not receiving the Sacrament even if the Bishop allowed the practice to continue. The boy’s father clearly states in the article that he can not swallow even a tiny piece of the Host. What would be the point in allowing this practice to continue? Would it be a good practice to let him think he is receiving Jesus? I would say, no.

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#14

[quote=YinYangMom]I would want to know what this boy is living off of for sustenance then.
[/quote]

I know a little boy with Down Syndrome who at the age of 6 still can not eat regular food due to his inability to swallow without choking or gagging. He eats through a feeding tube. Obviously we don’t know the exact situation of the boy in this article, but I just wanted to point this out as a possibility. Also the father points out it is a texture issue. This is quite common with Autism and Down Syndrome. My daughter flips out if she gets mashed potatoes on her fingers, yet finger painting is okay. Go figure…

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#15

I trust Our Lord has this child under his protection from those who demand him to perform by criteria he cannot fulfill…and who somehow deem him less fit to be able to participate in the sacramental life because of his handicap.

Can’t swallow? No sacrament for you…

Can’t move for yourself, maybe handicapped?..maybe no life for you…

No apology for the tone of this post.

I’ve seen arguements here that exactly parallel those of the pro-death crowd, that a physical disability cuts you off by some arbitrary standard.

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#16

God would not give a cross without giving the ability and the grace to carry it. Something tells me this boy would recieve more grace by his desire to have Communion without being able to recieve it than me being able to take it.

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#17

Originally Posted by aimee
Some of your replies…well it kind of makes me feel sad and disappointed. But as I said the whole truth isn’t known…

I know how you feel, my sister is disabled, and if the church said that she could not receive communion due to a technicality, then I would be rather annoyed.

Would Jesus deny the disabled food because of their disability?

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#18

[quote=Libero]I know how you feel, my sister is disabled, and if the church said that she could not receive communion due to a technicality, then I would be rather annoyed.

Would Jesus deny the disabled food because of their disability?
[/quote]

Jesus would never deny Communion because they cannot physically take it. In this desolation there is consolation. As he said those that did not see but yet had faith where more blessed than that that did see and believed, so I’d say it is true that those who cannot recieve but want to are more blessed than those that can and do, atleast as far as regarding recieveing blessings from Communion

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#19

[quote=Libero]I know how you feel, my sister is disabled, and if the church said that she could not receive communion due to a technicality, then I would be rather annoyed.

Would Jesus deny the disabled food because of their disability?
[/quote]

The child isnt eating it though- he’s spitting it back out!

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#20

[quote=Christus Rex]The child isnt eating it though- he’s spitting it back out!
[/quote]

Sometimes it seems as though we just can’t see the obvious. This is not about the child’s disability or his rights. He is not receiving the Euacharist if he is spitting it out. Thank you Christus Rex.

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