Published on Thursday 19 January 2012 10:10
THE Roman Catholic Church is preventing a seven-year-old boy with Down’s Syndrome from taking his first Holy Communion.
Little Denum Ellarby goes to church, knows who Jesus is and is old enough to take part in the special ceremony.
But he will not be joining children of his age at Holy Communion preparation classes or on the big day itself at St Mary’s Church in Batley.
The diocese has written to Denum’s parents saying their son is not yet ready as he has ‘limited concentration’ and does not enjoy Mass.
His parents have now accused the Catholic Church of discriminating against him because of his disability.
Mum Clare, of Crown Flatt Way, Dewsbury, said: “I feel really let down by the Catholic faith. If I don’t stick up for him, no-one will.”
Seven-year-old Denum is a pupil at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Batley.
The Reporter Series understands that at the age of about seven, pupils from St Mary’s School are invited to take First Communion classes at St Mary’s Church.
But Mrs Ellarby said she never received an invite and by the time her family heard about the classes they had missed the first meeting.
Parish priest Fr Mungovin declined to comment about Denum, as did St Mary’s School and the Vicar General.
In a statement, a Diocese spokesman said: “Often Baptism is celebrated for babies in order to bring them into the life of the Church but they only proceed to the Sacrament of First Communion when they take part in the Church’s life and understand the Church’s faith in regard to these Sacraments. 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.”
Xanthe Breen, of the Down’s Syndrome Association, has been speaking to the family about their concerns.
She said: “It’s not something we have ever heard of before. It’s a shame all parties can’t come to a compromise.”
There are 8 comments to this article
As stated Dragonian people ……..
The parents should be ashamed of using their child in such a cynical and dishonest way. This is purely about not taking any part in church life, despite much encouragement and many invitations from the school and parish. ALL Year 3 childrens’ families received a number of letters and non-responders were contacted personally. They are blatantly LYING if they say otherwise and it’s a measure of the family that they would parade their child in the newspaper and on tv to support their lies. No doubt they see a payout as a possibility and don’t see their child’s disability as a barrier to getting it. The Catholic church welcomes all children whose families attend church and support the preparation process. This family has NO committment to the Catholic faith and I’d like to congratulate both the parish priest and the vicar general in refusing to dignify this with a response. If these parents had any decency, they should hang their heads in shame.
its nothing to do with discrimination its a excuse for personal failings. they sued hospital now trying school. who next?
sorry for my views brought up in catholic church lucky no disabilities. however didnt attend classes and no communion. its rules. if parents dont make effort ?????
I think this is terrible I have been a catholic all my life and I dont go to mass every week I am a believer but I dont need to go to mass every week to prove to narrow minded people that I am a catholic ….. I feel bored after 12hour droning on and on .so I can only imagine what a child feels . If I remember correctly god doesnt abandon ANYONE after all the press reports re priests abusing young CHILDREN they should think themselves lucky that people actually want to send their children there anyway .. DRAGONIAN people DRAGONIAN beliefs I for one would stand outside this do called place of god that welcomes everybody “”"when it suits them”"”with a placard demanding that this little boy takes communion this is discrimination
The family dont go to Mass, attend the required meetings or classes and rather conviently dont get invites either!
This isnt about the Lad having a disability, its about taking part in the preparation which they havent, nothing to do with his disability.
Why isnt there a photo of all the other Kids who wont be making there Communion because there parents wont attend the prerequisite meetings either??
How can the newspapers get all the facts when the parish priest, vicar general and school aren’t prepared to comment?
The diocese has apparently said that the little boy doesn’t enjoy Mass, then they say that the family isn’t going.
If they’re not going to Mass then perhaps this is fair enough, if they are then this is awful.
Maybe if the Church actually put somebody up to explain this to the papers rather than hiding behind bland statements they wouldn’t be getting such criticism?
Im sorry but we are not getting all the FACTs here. The family failed to attend INITIAL start up meetings that all parents are required to attend, other parents who dont attend are also missing out. Lazy journalism by the Batley News. I sugguest they revisit this story and come back when they bother yo have all the FACTS.
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