JACKSON, N.J. (CBS) — A New Jersey family claims a Catholic church in Jackson denied communion to their son because he has autism. Jimmy LaCugna posted on Facebook Tuesday that he and his wife were told by Saint Aloysis Church that their 8-year-old son Anthony, who is autistic and non-verbal, would not be able to make communion this year because the church feels the boy is “unable to determine right from wrong due to his disability.”
“Father Bambric at Saint Aloysis Church in Jackson and the Archdiocese of Trenton came to this position since Anthony is unable to determine right from wrong due to his disability they feel he is not up to the ‘benchmark required to make his communion.’ This is very hard and upsetting to comprehend when we all are created by God and now our son is being shunned from the Catholic faith due to his inability to communicate,” LaCugna wrote.READ MORE: Pfizer Says Its Vaccine Is 90.7% Effective Against Symptomatic COVID-19 In Children Ages 5 To 11
The post has since gone viral with over 8,400 shares.
“This is something that I hope goes viral and these parties involved get their names called out for this disgraceful and disheartening act against a child who has a disability and wouldn’t even be able to create a sin because he is one of the sweetest and innocent little boy someone would ever meet,” LaCugna said.
Anthony’s mother, Nicole LaCugna, told NJ.com that her son is being discriminated against by the church.READ MORE: Man Struck, Killed By Tractor-Trailer In North Philadelphia
“God created everybody. He created my son the way he is for a reason,” she told NJ.com. “(Communion) is supposed to be a blessed day, not a day of not thinking my son doesn’t belong. This is discrimination against my child.”
After the LaCugna family’s Facebook post went viral, Saint Aloysis Church said it has found new information “which allows us to by-pass previous Diocesan Guidelines to better serve” those who have severe cognitive and developmental issues.
“The original guidelines we followed state that a child must have a basic rudimentary simple understanding of Right and Wrong to receive First Reconciliation. For First Communion, again at a simple, basic, rudimentary level, the child has to be able to distinguish ordinary bread from the Body of Christ. New information has shed light on ways to further adapt our preparations and reception for children with severe cognitive and developmental issues,” the church said in a Facebook post.
The church said it has informed the LaCugna family of the new guidance.MORE NEWS: WATCH LIVE: Nick Sirianni To Speak With Media Before Traveling To Las Vegas For Eagles-Raiders Matchup
Nicole LaCugna told NJ.com that her family has not heard from the parish yet on whether Anthony can get his first communion.