OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 24, 2014, 09:38:16 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Question about the mentally impaired  (Read 4098 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« on: April 01, 2008, 11:42:13 AM »

Sorry if this has already been discussed...

Does the Orthodox Church admit to the Eucharist those who are mentally impaired, for example, children or adults with Down's syndrome, etc.?

Thanks!

G.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2008, 11:52:36 AM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,208


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2008, 12:03:26 PM »

As far as I know we do. There would be no reason to exclude them. We have a few in my parish and they commune.

Logged
Orual
Orthodoxy = 7, not 3
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Sunday Morning Costume Parade
Posts: 931


I'm just here for the food.


« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2008, 12:08:04 PM »

Yes, we absolutely do.  The only way they would be excluded is if they themselves decline, or perhaps if they are unable to approach the chalice of their own volition and no one is available to guide them to it.  But no one is excluded simply on the basis of mental illness.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2008, 12:08:39 PM by Matrona » Logged

He spoke it as kindly and heartily as could be; as if a man dashed a gallon of cold water in your broth and never doubted you'd like it all the better. 

- C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
f.k.a. Matron.a
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2008, 01:32:47 PM »

^Tamara, Matrona, thank you both!
Logged

Love never fails.
FrChris
The Rodney Dangerfield of OC.net
Site Supporter
Taxiarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 7,252


Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2008, 01:37:13 PM »

Absolutely we do!

One of my favorite parishioners is a young man with Down's Syndrome. He will commune with every opportunity, and even though he can never ask for a blessing due to some speech problems, he will never leave my side until he receives a blessing. I wish that I had the faith and relationship with Christ he has.
Logged

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
Ebor
Vanyar
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,358



« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2008, 01:37:22 PM »

I'm sure that it wasn't intended to read that way, but such things as Down Syndrome are not mental *illnesses*, but an impairment as Heorhji wrote.  Our youngest has mild DS (it's a spectrum condition, not a 'binary' one, that has effects both on the physical and the intellectual).  For him it mostly manifested in low muscle tone and delays.  He's not stuck, he's learning to read slowly and to write and he's quite computer capable for his favourite sites like "One More Story" and  PBSKids.org and others. (He turns the machine on, opens browsers and uses either the drop down or he recognizes pictures or short words to go to a site.  He can't type yet, but his mouse/hand/eye control are excellent).

At this time he does not commune because he would not like the taste of the wine and try to spit it out. But other persons with DS or other handicaps have certainly communed at our parish.

Ebor
Logged

"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
Ebor
Vanyar
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,358



« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2008, 01:41:02 PM »

Absolutely we do!

One of my favorite parishioners is a young man with Down's Syndrome. He will commune with every opportunity, and even though he can never ask for a blessing due to some speech problems, he will never leave my side until he receives a blessing. I wish that I had the faith and relationship with Christ he has.

FrChris - Does the young man use any Sign Language?  While our son is learning to talk, we use Sign Language to bolster the communication, as it were, not with finger-spelling but signs for the item or concept.  We've even made a sign or two for something he wanted to get across.  Perhaps you and the young man could make up a Sign to ask you for a blessing; I know that when our boy does something like his big brother he is very happy.

Ebor
Logged

"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2008, 01:50:59 PM »

^Thank you, Fr. Chris and Ebor.
Logged

Love never fails.
FrChris
The Rodney Dangerfield of OC.net
Site Supporter
Taxiarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 7,252


Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2008, 01:55:41 PM »

Ebor,

My parishioner uses no sign language or have actually any ability to communicate beyond obvious facial expressions, sighing, and the occasional grunt.

This man basically is always at my side after the Liturgy or whatever; he will wait for me to get out of my vestments and then will get to my right side. He often will kneel to receive a blessing and venerate the hand that blessed him, but he will not leave my side until his parents call for him, and then I firmly remind him that he is to go with his mother and father---I guess that is our 'special sign' when Fr Chris gets his 'stern priest face' on.
Logged

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
Ebor
Vanyar
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,358



« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2008, 02:05:01 PM »

It sounds to me like going to your right side is this young man's "sign".  He's communicating.  Smiley

Logged

"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
FrChris
The Rodney Dangerfield of OC.net
Site Supporter
Taxiarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 7,252


Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2008, 02:43:56 PM »

Indeed! He says more than the rest of us, without saying anything.
Logged

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
Ebor
Vanyar
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,358



« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2008, 02:48:30 PM »

Indeed! He says more than the rest of us, without saying anything.

 Smiley
Logged

"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2008, 02:49:37 PM »

Sorry if this has already been discussed...

Does the Orthodox Church admit to the Eucharist those who are mentally impaired, for example, children or adults with Down's syndrome, etc.?

Thanks!

G.
My younger brother and sister-in-law's local parish (St. Andrew's Gladesville) actually runs several residential group home for the Orthodox intellectually disabled. Several of the clients are severely intellectually disabled. Their carers will bring them to the Liturgy every Sunday, and they are Communed first, even before the children.
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2008, 03:36:35 PM »

My younger brother and sister-in-law's local parish (St. Andrew's Gladesville) actually runs several residential group home for the Orthodox intellectually disabled. Several of the clients are severely intellectually disabled. Their carers will bring them to the Liturgy every Sunday, and they are Communed first, even before the children.

That's wonderful, thank you for sharing.
Logged

Love never fails.
Eleos
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Posts: 251


« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2008, 05:22:45 PM »

My son was diagnosed as "mild-to-severe" autistic at 4 years old.  At the time he didn't respond to verbal interaction and did not possess speech capabilities.  He has communed all along and has generally been calm and happy during liturgy.  One time he slipped away without us knowing and apparently had merged in and joined in the procession at the Great Entrance  Cheesy  He is quite fond of church, has unique theological insight and I personally suspect that in his earlier years he was comprehending a lot more than he was able to express.
Logged

"The Unity of the Church, as Your Holinesses well know it, is the will of God and ought to be an inspiring example to all men. It should always be a help and not a hindrance to the unity of men of different religions."-Emperor Haile Selassie To the Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches 1965
arimethea
Getting too old for this
Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch
Posts: 2,968


Does anyone really care what you think?


« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2008, 05:34:32 PM »

I have always looked at those with mental challeges to have a unique blessing to always be able to approach God like a little child.
Logged

Joseph
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2008, 07:03:02 AM »

Again, many thanks, Eleos, Arimethea, and all others who replied!

A firnd of mine from Ukraine, a young Eastern Rite Catholic priest who is very interested in Orthodoxy, is in charge, specifically, for pastoral care of mentally disabled. Is there a similar pastoral responsibility in the Orthodox Church? He asked me to ask this forum, particularly, is there a notion in the Orthodox Church that mentally disabled need to grow spiritually and that the Church should help them become better citizens, or, rather, does the Orthodox Church treat them like mere "babies?" Where can one read bout these matters in the Orthodox literature?

The guy is really very friendly, there aren't any tricks in his questions as far as I can see. Thank you for your thoughts and references!
Logged

Love never fails.
Simayan
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate - GOA
Posts: 816



« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2008, 06:42:24 PM »

The only way they would be excluded is if they themselves decline, or perhaps if they are unable to approach the chalice of their own volition and no one is available to guide them to it.  But no one is excluded simply on the basis of mental illness.

Hm, I never knew this was a requirement. Our priest brings the chalice to a few people at their pews when they come to church because it's nearly impossible for them to get up to the front.
Logged

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, nor mourning nor crying nor suffering, for the old order of things has passed away."
Orual
Orthodoxy = 7, not 3
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Sunday Morning Costume Parade
Posts: 931


I'm just here for the food.


« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2008, 12:05:07 AM »

Hm, I never knew this was a requirement. Our priest brings the chalice to a few people at their pews when they come to church because it's nearly impossible for them to get up to the front.

Oh, no, I didn't mean that it was a requirement for them to walk up there or anything.  I only meant that if they couldn't do it on their own, without someone there to help them, and the priest didn't know them, it might be easier for them to "slip through the cracks".  It's not that they would be excluded because of their impairment, only because they were mistakenly overlooked from not being made known as communicants.  Sorry, I should have made that clearer.  Being overlooked by accident can happen to anybody, and it's happened to me a couple times, so the thought occurred to me that it could happen to a mentally impaired person as well.  I just wanted to make it clear that even if it did, they weren't being purposefully left out because of their impairment.
Logged

He spoke it as kindly and heartily as could be; as if a man dashed a gallon of cold water in your broth and never doubted you'd like it all the better. 

- C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
f.k.a. Matron.a
Eleos
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Posts: 251


« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2008, 06:57:30 PM »

Again, many thanks, Eleos, Arimethea, and all others who replied!

A firnd of mine from Ukraine, a young Eastern Rite Catholic priest who is very interested in Orthodoxy, is in charge, specifically, for pastoral care of mentally disabled. Is there a similar pastoral responsibility in the Orthodox Church? He asked me to ask this forum, particularly, is there a notion in the Orthodox Church that mentally disabled need to grow spiritually and that the Church should help them become better citizens, or, rather, does the Orthodox Church treat them like mere "babies?" Where can one read bout these matters in the Orthodox literature?

The guy is really very friendly, there aren't any tricks in his questions as far as I can see. Thank you for your thoughts and references!

I may be taking your question as too narrow.  Of course there is a need for all people to grow spiritually.  At the same time, Jesus teaches that all should approach Him as children.  The Church initiates us into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Is that what you mean by "better citizen"? 

Here is an article by an Greek Orthodox priest that I thought had practical value based on my experience:
Quote
Children with Special Needs and the Orthodox Christian Family
By Father Steven P. Tsichlis

As he went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?”  Jesus answered: “Neither this man nor

his parents sinned; he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

~ John 9:1-3

            Children with special needs – children like the man born blind in this story; children suffering from Cooley’s Anemia; Down’s Syndrome children; children with Cerebral Palsy or other central nervous system deficiencies; children with Muscular Dystrophy; children who are ravaged by any one of virtually hundreds of birth defects and diseases:  children with special needs are a challenge for us to take part in the “works of God” that are displayed in each one. 

We must learn the discipline of silence until a compassionate Christian response is possible in our part.

             There is perhaps no event more devastating to a family than a child born with a birth defect.  There is no more severe test of a family’s resiliency than the discovery that a child is slowly dying of an incurable disease.  Each child and every family is unique, bringing his own life story into the tragedy which each must confront.  What is offered here are some broad outlines, a few insights taken from experience and an expression of concern for these children and their families.

            The initial response of parents and the broader community to a child with birth defects is guilt and embarrassment.  Unthinkingly, we ask the question which the disciples asked of Jesus:  who sinned – this man or his parents?  We immediately seek to place the blame somewhere.  We feel that this is too terrible a tragedy for someone not to be responsible.  But to this question and to all questions like it, must be given Jesus’ answer – no one sinned, neither the child nor its parents.  No one is “responsible.”  No mortal can or should take the blame for a child suffering from one of many possible defects.

            Most of us have, at one time or another, been exposed to someone who suffers from some physical or mental handicap:  someone confined to a wheelchair, a child who is mentally retarded, or a person who is deaf or mute.  Our initial reaction to this situation is usually a mixture of embarrassment, pity and anxiety – feelings which clash with one another and bind us up, feelings which are nearly always expressed in an inability to reach out to that person and his family.  Instead, we indulge in stereotyped remarks and even make unkind, patronizing comments.  The fact that these comments arise out of anxieties generated in ourselves is no consolation to their vulnerable recipient.  One of the most difficult things for anyone is to deal with conflicting feelings in oneself.  We must learn the discipline of silence until a compassionate, Christian response is possible on our part.

            The ways in which parents of children with special needs deal with the tremendous stresses placed upon them vary, depending upon their maturity, the depth of their commitment to their marriage, the presence of other children in the family and their needs, their financial situation and finally, and perhaps more importantly from the perspective of the Church, the social support which can be called upon from the extended family and the community at large.

            Children with special needs place a permanent stamp on their families.  The emotional and physical demands which are inevitable in raising such children often lead to fatigue and a sense of inadequacy as a parent.  A crisis of parenthood occurs.  This crisis can be dealt with in two ways – either positively or negatively – depending upon the parents themselves and the quality of support they receive from family, friends and the Church:

1.       Families who have successfully dealt with these problems often express their belief in the value of the experience in setting the family’s priorities in order.

      The superficial social life which so many of us indulge in out of habit and the                materialistic values endemic to our culture are quickly put in their proper perspective.  There is not doubt that a discerning parish priest and the Church community can play a large role in aiding the development of this essentially Christian awareness.  The family that weathers these storms can, in fact, be stronger than before.

2.       The opposite is also possible:  the trauma of day-to-day care of a child with special needs can accentuate previously present family problems.  The parents’ rejection and/or resentment of the child can become over-whelming, literally tearing the family apart.  Parents can become bitter and blame one another for not shouldering enough of the burden.  One parent can focus all of his attention on the child, forgetting the needs of the spouse and other children.  The additional financial burden, if it is not allayed by community resources, can be a disruptive factor.  The entire family structure may collapse, leading to divorce, abandonment of the child with special needs and severe emotional damage to the other children.

People even brought little children to him, for him to touch them; but when the disciples saw this, they turned them away.  But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”

 ~ Luke 18:15-16 

            The positive role that the Church can play was made clear to me years ago.

While applying for a job at a state mental hospital in New England, I was interviewed by a young social worker of Greek Orthodox background who suffered from a central nervous system motor disability.  Moving around the room in a motorized wheelchair, her speech slurred but understandable, she spoke movingly of her childhood in a Greek Orthodox community.  One of the things which I retained from our conversation was the fact that despite her obvious difficulty, the people in her parish never treated her as someone “different;” there were never any implications that she was “inferior” or “didn’t belong” with the rest of the children in the parish.  Instead, she told me both she and her family were provided for through a support system of caring and compassionate people.  She is living proof that we, as a community, in the name of Christ Jesus, can make a difference.

Logged

"The Unity of the Church, as Your Holinesses well know it, is the will of God and ought to be an inspiring example to all men. It should always be a help and not a hindrance to the unity of men of different religions."-Emperor Haile Selassie To the Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches 1965
Simayan
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate - GOA
Posts: 816



« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2008, 08:17:09 PM »

Oh, no, I didn't mean that it was a requirement for them to walk up there or anything.  I only meant that if they couldn't do it on their own, without someone there to help them, and the priest didn't know them, it might be easier for them to "slip through the cracks".  It's not that they would be excluded because of their impairment, only because they were mistakenly overlooked from not being made known as communicants.  Sorry, I should have made that clearer.  Being overlooked by accident can happen to anybody, and it's happened to me a couple times, so the thought occurred to me that it could happen to a mentally impaired person as well.  I just wanted to make it clear that even if it did, they weren't being purposefully left out because of their impairment.

Ah, thank you! Makes much more sense now.
Logged

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, nor mourning nor crying nor suffering, for the old order of things has passed away."
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2008, 11:51:28 AM »

Eleos, many thanks for the article. I will try to translate it into Ukrainian and give it to my friend the priest to read. --G.
Logged

Love never fails.
Eleos
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Posts: 251


« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2008, 03:14:16 PM »

Eleos, many thanks for the article. I will try to translate it into Ukrainian and give it to my friend the priest to read. --G.
Your very welcome.  That's very nice of you to translate it into Ukrainian.  If you do translate it into Ukrainian, perhaps you could post that in the foreign languages section of this board for Ukrainian speakers.  Thanks
Logged

"The Unity of the Church, as Your Holinesses well know it, is the will of God and ought to be an inspiring example to all men. It should always be a help and not a hindrance to the unity of men of different religions."-Emperor Haile Selassie To the Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches 1965
Tags: communion disability 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.086 seconds with 51 queries.