LITTLE CHILDREN SUFFER

From THE DAILY MAIL:

When Denum Ellarby walked down the aisle with his classmates to take Holy Communion for the first time his parents felt a mixture of pride and relief. For the family have had to battle what they regarded as ‘cruel discrimination’ by the Catholic Church to ensure their eight-year-old son with Down’s Syndrome could take part in the important First Communion ceremony.

Until the Daily Mail highlighted his plight in January the local priest, backed by the diocese, was refusing to allow him to take part as he would not understand the preparation classes or ‘enjoy participation in Mass.’

His mother Clare Ellarby believed his disability was responsible for the church’s refusal to accept him and collected a 400 signature petition in support of Denum from the local community.

In the wake of the bad publicity the church had a change of heart.

People used to write into my blog and accuse me of being anti-catholic. I used to reply that I was not anti-catholic, I was just anti the abuses of the denomination. Nowadays I don't bother.The bigger the gap between me and them the better. I get enough flak from non-Christians who believe I belong to the same religion as evangelicals. Now I get flak because they believe I belong to the same religion as the sort of monsters who put parents like Denum's folks through a living hell because of some technicality that would never have occurred to Jesus or John the Baptist. I mean, can you imagine Jesus bothering to test a person's IQ before letting that person share in his body and blood?

I'm beginning to think that, whatever denomination they belong to (including my own), Christ-centred Christians should leave their churches and start worshipping together just to show the world that there really can be good news in all this Jesus stuff. I don't think we should start our own church, though. That experiment has proved to be a singular failure of the highest order.

Comments

LITTLE CHILDREN SUFFER — 31 Comments

  1. Also, we already have such denominations: Unitarians, Quakers, and a great many United Methodist congregations get it. My own UMC church takes the “care for the poor and less fortunate” bit very seriously.

  2. No. None of us really get it. Not even the Quakers. If we took it seriously there wouldn’t be any less fortunate for us to take care of.

  3. Ah, that old patronizing power grip! What these children so often desperately need is to be with the other kids and do what their peers are doing. To ‘belong’. What needs to be done is to engage someone who specializes in special needs to work with the child, then, on that special day,their joy will illuminate the church.
    I arrived at an inner city parish once where teaching of the F. Communion class was in its early stages. shortly I got called by a mother in tears who wouldn’t come to the office. I had just had leg surgery and couldn’t climb the stairs to their home. So we stood in the street in the rain and she told me her problem.
    Her son had serious ADD, special classes at school. The previous person in my job had told them that her son could not receive unless he sat perfectly still through all of the lessons.
    (an impossibility for him). Again, the idea that he couldn’t concentrate enough to understand how a flat, tasteless wafer became “Jesus”. I’m not sure that anyone else understands that either, only most folks just don’t keep asking for the un-explainable to be understandable, they just accept what they r taught to believe.
    Some parish personnel use their authority to really hurt kids and it’s hard to know if they r just cruel or if they believe what they r saying. It’s a very special kind of arrogance!
    nij

  4. Ah, that old patronizing power grip! What these children so often desperately need is to be with the other kids and do what their peers are doing. To ‘belong’. What needs to be done is to engage someone who specializes in special needs to work with the child, then, on that special day,their joy will illuminate the church.
    I arrived at an inner city parish once where teaching of the F. Communion class was in its early stages. shortly I got called by a mother in tears who wouldn’t come to the office. I had just had leg surgery and couldn’t climb the stairs to their home. So we stood in the street in the rain and she told me her problem.
    Her son had serious ADD, special classes at school. The previous person in my job had told them that her son could not receive unless he sat perfectly still through all of the lessons.
    (an impossibility for him). Again, the idea that he couldn’t concentrate enough to understand how a flat, tasteless wafer became “Jesus”. I’m not sure that anyone else understands that either, only most folks just don’t keep asking for the un-explainable to be understandable, they just accept what they r taught to believe.
    Some parish personnel use their authority to really hurt kids and it’s hard to know if they r just cruel or if they believe what they r saying. It’s a very special kind of arrogance!
    nij

  5. I do not understand how anyone can still be in some churches. But then I read something as blindingly stupid as the CoE’ House of Bishops press release, and I find myself including my own. Some of us want to be under a covenant run by that archbishop? EEEEEeek!

    So maybe it is simply the sin of institutionalism write large when we see these horrible things.

    FWIW
    jimB

  6. “he would not understand the preparation classes or ‘enjoy participation in Mass.’”

    As if ANYONE “understands”? As if ANY Christian-with-a-heart “enjoys participation” w/ the Popoids???

  7. I had a priest friend (of blessed memory) years ago who came into the Episcopal Church because the Methodists would not let her severely autistic son receive communion — also justified because he “wouldn’t understand”. She and her husband just couldn’t stay where her son was rejected in that way.

    Since I’m reminded of her I’ll ask all who are reading this, of your charity, to pray for the repose of the soul of Paula, faithful priest of the church and my good friend from a long time ago. I still miss her.

  8. “In the wake of the bad publicity the church had a change of heart.”

    i think that sentence says it all.

  9. Yeah but the UMC fell down in Tampa, at least when it came to gay people.

    :sigh:

    And yes, Jonathan, if you’re a baptized Christian, then you do belong to the same religion as the evangelicals. Everyone does. That’s the idea – the “tent of Abraham” is open on all sides and as a result, all kinds of people can get in there.

  10. No I don’t, Tracey, because I don’t believe in the same God as they do.

    If I believed you to be a short, buxom redhead who attended reenactment stuff and liked cats and somebody else believed that you were a blonde six footer with no meat on you who loved badger baiting and attending synchronised swimming events, we would not both be believing in the same Tracey, even though we both called you Tracey.

  11. I never said we weren’t all Christians. In fact I said quite the opposite. I said we were not of the same religion and we do not worship the same God. Please pay attention, woman!!!

  12. Fundamental disconnects between teaching and implementation like this caused a certain heretic centuries ago to say that he did not wish to be called a ‘christian’ but rather a ‘follower of Christ’. To confuse the two is as much an error as to confuse Leviticites for Christians.

    It is my personal belief that followers of Christ should go wherever they are called and if their faith community (by whatever name/denomination) is not feeding and supporting them, they should feel able to leave and find somewhere that can.

    YMMV.

  13. P.S. – regarding the original post, I believe the Master was clear, “All who are thirsty, come to me and drink.”

    Not the baptized.
    Not the worthy.
    Not the smart.
    Not the healthy.

    All.

  14. Less unity and more unity through disunity, Tim. The freer a person is the more likely that person is to make worthwhile connections with others.

  15. You’ve been trying this stuff for 2000 years; ever wonder that it’s just not worth it? Or that you’re just projecting beliefs that you’d have anyway due to your socio-economic status or background?
    Because for us atheists, it’s like you’re constantly getting agitated and freaked out by trivia and wasting a lot of time with ceremony and things nobody could possibly know.

  16. “it’s like you’re constantly getting agitated “

    And you, an atheist, spend time raving on Christian blogs because…?

    Know yourself, troll!

  17. Christianity is a religion, *like it or not.*

    It is the religion of both you and the evangelicals, *like it or not.*

    You all worship the same God, *like it or not.*

    That is all I’m going to believe, *like it or not.*

    If you’re going to tell me anything different, then I say that the body of Christ is torn asunder, not whole – *like it or not.*

    NEENER NEENER

  18. Sounds kind of like our teenage years doesn’t it? (“I know better than you do…) Sadly, so many never get over that egotistical bent but change positions every so often when confronted in the media.

  19. You know, come to think of it, it’s even more basic:

    They don’t worship the same God I do. They worship some vengeful, doddering old spirit of malice, or a book, or even a traditional understanding, but they don’t worship God.

    No. They are not Christians.

  20. Exactly, Mark. If no one can perceive God objectively, then, to an outsider, our gods are who we say they are. Evangelicals et al describe their god (or spirit of malice) so differently to how we describe our God, that they cannot possibly be regarded as the same god. Religion is about communication with the divine. If one idea of the divine is radically different to another idea of the divine then they are two different religions.

  21. Could Joe receive Communion in any parish church you were priest of, Jonathan? He is not baptized.

    • Officially: It would be against the canons of the Church of England.

      Theologically: Jesus did not mention anything about having to have been baptised when he told his followers to eat the bread and drink the wine in remembrance of him.

      Personally: I give communion to anyone who asks for it without asking questions. This is because I’m just the waiter not the cook.