Outcry after priest denies autistic girl Communion

An Italian priest’s alleged refusal to allow a 10-year-old autistic girl to receive her first Communion has been criticised by an Italian politician.

The girl’s parents were furious after the priest told them twice that their daughter was “not ready” to receive the sacrament.

The priest, from Sicily, told the girl’s mother that her daughter was “unable to understand the significance” of Communion.

He reportedly told the parents to wait until the girl understands more.

The mother told local media that her daughter would not change over time.

“Barring a miracle, she will never be like other children.”

The parents pushed for a private ceremony, to avoid “disorder”, but the priest still refused.

Italy’s Education Undersecretary, Davide Faraone, subsequently took to Facebook to lambast the “ignorance” and “discrimination” of the Church.

Mr Faraone, whose own daughter is autistic, observed that Italian churches routinely shun autistic children.

“If you search ‘priest denies communion to autistic child’ on Google, there are pages and pages of results from all over Italy,” Mr Faraone wrote.

“But religion is about heart, not mind.

“This only happens because there is so much ignorance around autism.

“We can’t go on like this and need to end discrimination.”

The priest later told media that he “was ready to celebrate the child”.

He denied resisting her parents’ requests to allow her to take her first Communion.

According to local media, the priest has been criticised in the past for hanging a photo of Sicily’s former president, Salvatore “Totò” Cuffaro, at the church.

This was even though Cuffaro had reportedly been jailed for aiding the Mafia.


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