Saturday, March 04, 2006

Taking stupidity to new heights

Just when you thought a bishop couldn't surprise you with his idiocy, someone goes and does one better. Today, the award for biggest episcopal boob goes to Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, who on Feb. 12 ruled that Matthew Moran, a 10-year-old autistic boy, cannot receive communion because he can't swallow the host. Matthew had been receiving by having the host placed on his tongue, but since he can't swallow foods with certain textures, his father would consume the host for him. Olmsted said this didn't qualify as "taking and eating."

Olmsted, of course, is even better in his own words, which, remember, were written to the disabled child's parents: "Just to touch [the host] to one's tongue is not to 'take and eat.' In other words, it is not the reception of Christ in the Eucharist. So while your desire is for your son to receive Holy Communion, he is, in fact, only simulating doing so." Oh ... my ... God. Imagine how many times these parents have been told that their son "can't" do something because of his disability.

Have we become such literalists, such legalists, that we cannot accomodate a child with a severe mental illness [Correction: Autism is a neurobiological disorder. Thanks to "Alexander's Dad."]? How is this any way to be a "good shepherd"? If the man had a shred of pastoral sense he would encourage Matt to continue to receive communion in the hopes that he may some day become accustomed to the texture of the host and be able to swallow it. Instead the good bishop suggested educational materials.

Such is the quality of the U.S. bishops nowadays, so concerned with rules, so obsessed with "worthiness" for receiving communion that we can now add children with developmental disabilities to the ever-growing list of those barred from the Lord's table. Welcome, Matt, to the club.

Dare I even ask what Jesus would do? I've got an idea: How 'bout a swift kick in the pants for one bad shepherd.

2 Comments:

At 9:38 AM, Blogger not my blg said...

How about a short trip to hell. Just for clarification, autism is not a mental illness but a neurobiological disorder. Jesus' ministry went out of it's way to minister to the sick, poor, and handicap when it was considered that these people were unclean. Bishop Olmsted is no different than the priests in the temple. Thank you for your support.

 
At 9:58 AM, Blogger CtotheL said...

Thanks for setting me straight about autism; may want to send that your comment to the "good" bishop as well.

 

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