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Boy Denied First Communion Because Of Disability


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A Texas woman is outraged after she says her 8-year-old grandson was denied the opportunity to participate in a religious milestone all because he has a developmental disability.

Irma Castro spent months preparing her grandson, Kevin, for his first communion. But she says the priest at her Floresville, Texas church refused to allow the boy to participate because he has cerebral palsy and limited mental abilities.

According to Castro, Father Phil Henning said that he did not believe Kevin had “sufficient knowledge” of Christ, a requirement for first communion.

As an alternative, the priest offered Kevin the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. But Castro called the offer “offensive,” arguing that the blessing is typically reserved for those who are facing death, reports KSAT, the San Antonio, Texas ABC affiliate. To read more click here.

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Comments (7 Responses)

  1. Excop says:

    Father Phil Henning should be ashamed of himself. That arrogant, pompous individual calls himself a man of the cloth, please who in the hell does he think he is to stand in judgment of others. When I was in Catholic grammar school I was taught that the only one who can judge you is God. I never heard of Christ turning away the sick. The child was baptized, why not allow him the sacrament of his Holy Communion. I can guarantee this so called priest would be the first to ask his parishioners for money if there was a problem with the church, now he is so God like to deny this child, what an ass. would he deny this child Last Rites. The Catholic church has the nerve to advertiseon TV asking people to come back to the church? A total disgrace. Father Henning needs to think long and hard before continuing on in his vocation as a priest. He is a disgrace.

  2. vmgillen says:

    I would suggest going to the diocese. This is still, and will remain, a problem with individual priests, however the Church is becoming much more responsive as an institution. My son did not take first communion because he would not wear a suit; our parish treated the rite as a consumer display akin to a mafia wedding. He is now 19 and in a group home with three other young men who similarly never went through communion or confirmation, and a local parish is performing RCIA (adult initiation). This did not start with a TV interview – it started 15 years ago with Cardinal O’Connor. I would be very interested in hearing what communion-specific preperations the grandmother worked on “for months,” by the way. Religion is an every day thing, part of the fabric of life. It is not specific to communion, or confirmation.

  3. TheFoxx says:

    Actually Excop – he’s a priest so standing in judgment on behalf of Gd is what he does no? I hope this family has found a new, more accepting place of worship for their child and I hope this priest is tossed out on his cassock.

  4. JustMe says:

    How sad this priest is has no idea how to embrace his entire flock in a variety of meaningful ways. Many children can learn their catechism and parrot the right answers to prove they have “sufficient knowledge” of Christ, but that doesn’t mean much unless their knowledge is not just in their head but in their heart. The standard for this child should be that he has sufficient knowledge that he wants to participate in the ceremony that is so meaningful to his family, because within his family and through his family, he will have indirect – but sufficient – knowledge of Christ.

  5. Unitedmedia says:

    Personally, I have found my daughter to be much more in tune with God than I will ever be. There is a special innocence and uncompromising faith that my little one with Downs is blessed to possess. This story is unfortunate. I would simply go to a different church – not all church leaders feel this way.

  6. SusanFordKeller says:

    What would Jesus do? Bless this child with communion. Rebuke the priest. Admonish his followers to love and serve everyone, but especially little children.

    How hard is that?

  7. ldorsey1010 says:

    This is outrageous! Jesus would NEVER deny a child (especially a child with a disability) the right to receive his body! “The Body of Christ Be With You” – it’s not “The Body of Christ Be With You But Only If You Don’t Have a Disability”. This is horrifying! I would take this up with the diocese and keep going up until your grandson receives Holy Communion. And Father Phil Henning, here’s some advice. It’s time to renew your vows and go back to the seminary because you are NOT acting as Christ would. Just disgraceful!!
    I taught special education religion to a boy who was severely autistic. Our church DID NOT deny him the right to Holy Communion. Who is to say what a child with a special need understands? Only God. And you, Father Henning are NOT God.

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