Friday, February 28, 2020

Communion Delayed is Communion Denied

I don't know the LaCugna family personally, but I understand their struggles.  Their son Anthony is non-verbal with a serious form of autism.  Like Tyler, he also appears to be a very beautiful young man with a supportive family.

What is so often underestimated is how special needs families struggle with the daily life occurrences that others very easily take for granted.  Robin and I once had to fight to give Tyler a private place to go to the bathroom at his school.  Another time, we had to fight for a bus schedule that would protect other children from his aggression.  Tyler cannot fight for his own rights, and many institutions in our world won't stand up and fight for them on his behalf either.  It's the family who must dig in and be that advocate.

This week, the LaCugna family found out that their son would not be permitted to participate in Holy Communion due to his disability.  According to their church, Saint Aloysius Parish in Jackson, NJ, he does not meet the criteria of partaking because he cannot understand right from wrong.  Apparently they do not believe that he can profess his relationship with God in a manner appropriate for communion.

First, let me say this.  NOBODY can know what Anthony's relationship is with God, just as nobody could know what Tyler's relationship with God is.  Just because they are non-verbal doesn't mean that they aren't speaking with God.  In fact, I would submit that because they have no natural inclination to sin, they are walking right alongside God every day.

Secondly, I have seen God work through Tyler in ways that have astounded me.  Tyler has brought family members back to the church after long estrangement periods.  Tyler has told his story (through me) to tens of thousands of people throughout the world.  Tyler has given Bibles to those who have needed them.  We will never know the scope of his impact, just as we will never know the scope of Anthony's impact.  But I promise you, they are working closer to God than most of us stumbling "normal" mortals are.

Lastly, Tyler and Anthony are specially made and loved by God.  God made them to be different. They are blessed creatures that deserve to be honored and protected in every phase of their lives.  God would want us to include his most precious children in communion. 

I predict that the church will realize that this arrogance and ego-self-righteousness isn't going to be worth the outcry to follow.  They appear to already be back-peddling and trying to claim this as a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of their true intentions.  It's not.  They are in damage control mode.

To the LaCugna family I say family will pray for you all.  We are proud of your conviction and your willingness to fight for your son.  He has every right to practice his beliefs in his own way.

And if you need a nice church to attend where Anthony is welcome for communion...join my family any Sunday you wish.  Where I come from, we honor God's special children.

Be well and God bless.   Tom 

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