Below I have included excerpts from an Associated Press article and the link to read it in its entirety. What are your feelings? Would you want to attend service with someone so disruptive or should the church allow any disruptive behavior to attend service? I would hate to be involved in this situation from either side.
Minn. mom fights church ban on her autistic son
Jun 1, 4:01 PM (ET)By DAVE KOLPACK
BERTHA, Minn. (AP) - Carol Race thinks it's important for her 13-year-old son to be in church on Sundays for Catholic Mass. Leaders of the Church of St. Joseph once felt the same way, but not anymore. They say Race's autistic son Adam is disruptive and his erratic behavior threatens the safety of other parishioners. The northern Minnesota church has obtained a restraining order to keep Adam away, an action that has been deeply hurtful to the Race family and has brought them support from parents of other autistic children. "My son is not dangerous," Carol Race said. The church's action is "about a certain community's fears of him. Fears of danger versus actual danger," she said.
In court papers, church leaders say the danger is real. The Rev. Daniel Walz wrote in his petition for the restraining order that Adam - who already is more than 6 feet tall and weighs more than 225 pounds - has hit a child, has nearly knocked over elderly parishioners while bolting from his pew, has spit at people and has urinated in the church. "His behavior at Mass is extremely disruptive and dangerous," wrote Walz. "Adam is 13 and growing, so his behaviors grow increasingly difficult for his parents to manage."
Carol Race was cited for attending church May 11 in violation of the restraining order, and faces a hearing Monday. Walz did not return calls seeking comment, but Jane Marrin, who works for the Diocese of St. Cloud and is acting as a spokeswoman for the parish, said the church board tried working with the Races to find "reasonable accommodations." That included offering a video feed of Mass that could be watched in the church basement. The family refused all suggestions, she said. "It's a difficult issue," Marrin said. "There are no easy answers."
Adam is prone to anxiety attacks. Carol said some of those outbursts force members of the family to sit on him to calm him down, or restrain his hands and feet with a strip of felt. In his court petition, Walz said that after one service Adam got into another family's car, started it and revved up the engine while there were people in front of the vehicle. "Adam's continued presence on parish grounds not only endangers the parishioners, it is disruptive to the devout celebration of the Eucharist," Walz wrote. "I have repeatedly asked John and Carol to keep Adam from church; they have refused to do so. "In fact, Carol told our parish council that she would have to be dragged from church in handcuffs if I tried to keep Adam from attending Mass," he wrote.