Monday, April 25, 2011

Texas boy with CP denied having his First Holy Communion


FLORESVILLE, Texas -– A young boy preparing to receive First Holy Communion was denied the opportunity because he has cerebral palsy.

It was a religious milestone that Irma Castro spent months preparing her grandson Kevin (pictured) for.

But when it came time for his First Communion, he was denied.

"It hurts and I think it's a form of discrimination," Castro said.

Castro was told by Fr. Phil Henning, with the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, her grandson Kevin had the mental capacity of a 6-month-old and he did not qualify to receive his First Holy Communion.

"He said because he was not able to understand the meaning of receiving the body of Christ," Castro said.

Canon law requires that a child receiving Holy Communion have "sufficient knowledge" of Christ, but it does not define what level of knowledge is considered sufficient.

Deacon Pat Rodgers, with the Archdiocese of San Antonio, said oftentimes the decision is left to the priest.

"It's never our desire, hope or wish to withhold a sacrament from someone who wants or needs it," Rodgers said.

Fr. Henning offered his family an alternative to the First Holy Communion, the anointing of the sick, but Castro found his gesture to be offensive.