Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Court Decision in Family's Bid for Inclusion

Today the restraining order that St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bertha Minnesota had placed against a 6' 2" 225 pound autistic 13 year old has been upheld by District Justice Sally Ireland Robertson of Todd County. The judge noted in her ruling, which comes a week after a hearing about the case, that the parents of Adam Race "have been unable to prevent their adult-sized minor child from repeated incidents of unwanted and intrusive conduct." Robertson ruled that although the boy unintentionally did the things that "disrupted church services and intruded on the solemnity, quietude, and privacy of the Mass" his parents insistence upon imposing Adam's disruptive presence during services warranted the restraining order.

The restraining order was sought after the pastor exhausted other avenues with the family.

Jane Marrin, a spokesperson for the Diocese of St. Cloud, said that the diocese will be continuing mediation in this matter. She noted that the church's pursuit of the restraining order was out of a concern for the safety of parishioners. Marrin said, "I think Father Walz [the pastor] and the lay leaders and the parish council needed to do what was in the best interest of everyone."

Even though Fr. Walz's affidavit for obtaining the restraining order stated that, among other disruptive occurrences, Adam Race made loud noises, urinated while in the church, spit during Mass, and bolted from the building nearly knocking over people in his path, Adam's mother has said her son's behavior isn't unusual or unpredictable. Carol Race has up to this point represented herself in court but now says that she intends to consult an attorney as to her next move in the matter.

I have a lot of thoughts on this matter, but none lead me to a definitive position. The Church, by its very nature, is inclusive. It is sad that this turmoil exists, but I offer it to you as a subject for thought and discussion. Perhaps, you'd like to offer a prayer for those invlolved too.

1 comment:

Kimberly at Echowood said...

Mary,
Thanks for posting this update. I'd heard of this situation some time ago, reading someone else's blog; and just from the comments on that blog, I could tell it was a controversial issue. I agree with you that it's very hard to know the best thing to do in such a situation. Not everyone would agree that the Church is, by its nature, inclusive, but it sounds like they really did try many different things to make it so this young man could be present at Mass. It's just a sad situation all around.

Just to let you know, I tagged you for one of those "meme" things on my blog. You can do it if you want---or not, if you don't feel like it. It's kind of fun, and it's a nice way for people to get to know you a bit better through your blog.

God bless!