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Author Topic: Priest who sent disabled adults out of Mass now 'regrets' actions  (Read 1912 times) Average Rating: 0
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gphadraig
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« on: December 21, 2004, 02:38:22 PM »

From the Irish Independent, 21 December, 2004

PRIEST WHO SENT DISABLED ADULTS OUT OF MASS NOW 'REGRET' ACTIONS
By David Quinn
Religious Affairs Correspondent

Two intellectually disabled adults were forced to leave Mass in Kilkenny on Sunday evening after a priest claimed they were too noisy.

The congregation at the Black Abbey in Kilkenny city was angered when Fr Dominic Brown stopped the Mass and asked the people looking after the intellectually disabled adults to take them out of the church.

The two were removed and the Mass restarted.

Fr Brown (73) at first defended his actions by saying that people should not be brought to Mass if they were not able to attend 'intelligently'. He said that if someone was making noise in the theatre, the natural thing would be to bring them out.

However, last night Fr Brown said he regretted his action, which he did 'under tension'. "In retrospect I should probably have down and shook their hands," he said.

However, he said he asked that they be taken out "because of the sheer noise, not the handicap". The carers should have woken to the fact that the Mass "was being disrupted".

The General secretary of the National Association for People with Disabilities, Deidre Carroll, described the incident as 'very regrettable'.

She said, "I hope this is a one-off incident. It must have been very embarassing for the carers. In every community, such people will be known and allowances will be made for them. More tolerance needs to be shown."

And Julie Ann Dalton, who has a special needs brother who attends church in Kilkenny on a regular basis, said Fr Brown was self-righteous and pompous.

She pointed out the Bishop of Ossory, Dr Laurence Forristal, has always encouraged people with special needs to attend his Masses.

The head of the National Conference of Priests of Ireland, Fr John Littleton, said: "I would never ask someone to remove a child or an intellectually disabled person from Mass.

"I would meet the parents of a very noisy child. I would talk to them afterwards."

Fr Brown, a Dominican, said that he had been a priest for over 40 years and had carried out parish work in Australia as well as Ireland and had put up with children crying on many occasions.

But the kind of noise experienced on Sunday could put a "nervous strain" on a priest, he said.



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I had a number of different thoughts when I read this, and intend to reflect upon them. My feeling and experience is that the Church is for all. Yes, sometimes there are distractions, interruptions and noise. The notion given at the beginning that only those who may attend 'intelligently' should come to services I repugnant.

What I do not want to happen is for this post to be used as a weapon against the Latins or their clergy. Anyone of us might find ourselves in a similar situation and our reactions might be interesting.....................
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2004, 03:05:11 PM »

The PC outrage sounds well-meant but...

I don't think he was wrong - the issue as he said wasn't that the people are retarded but that they were disruptive.

It seems there is a place for 'cry rooms' - such could be used for such people like for children.
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TomS
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2004, 03:08:11 PM »

I think this reflects more on the people "looking after them". It is they who should have taken the correct action out of concern for the other worshipers.
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2004, 03:08:57 PM »

Well, yes, but if they didn't then the priest was right.
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gphadraig
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2004, 10:09:41 PM »

Maybe so, maybe so, Serge. Like you I only have this report to go on. However, have you not been in church when the hub-bub is a major distraction. People asking after each other, making deals (oh, yes I seen and heard that), people wondering aimlessly about, ond so forth. And how many times have I seen familes with a relative such as the above article described marginalised here, there and yonder. My thoughts were how would Our Saviour wish us to respond to ones such as these in similar circumstances.

Like others I am not driven by a paradigm which owes its origins to social engineering, but would like to approach such matters as a Christian. Does the wise thing to do fall between the two very different views expressed by the Latin cleric on one hand and the advocates for People with intellectual impairments on the other?

Of course, we could put them out of sight, you know; for their own good of course.
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2004, 09:50:37 AM »

Speaking as a parent of two small children, when my kids got too loud, I'd quietly take them out, let them run off some steam, and then bring them back after telling them they need to be quiet so everyone can hear the liturgy. It never failed for me but then my kids are absolute angels in my book! So I guess my answer is that this Latin priest should have just asked them to step out, quiet them down, and then rejoin the mass.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2004, 09:53:41 AM by Columba » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2004, 11:06:50 AM »

I'm not given to "politically correct" rage myself, but something about this didn't quite sit well with me either.  I don't condemn the Priest, since he was obviously acting out of nervousness and weakness (also at 73, perhaps he might be on the frail side too.)  However, if I remember correctly, Latin Priests are not supposed to stop their Mass willingly for any reason (at least during the Oblation...so perhaps this was during the sermon), though I'm getting that knowledge from my experiences with the traditional Latin rite, which tends to be strict about this sort of thing.

I'm actually reminded of an incident that occured in just such a Church (ran by the SSPX) that I attended years ago.  During the Mass for the Christmas Vigil, an obviously mentally handicapped man (he was older and appeared to be senile and perhaps otherwise troubled) who seemed to have come to the Church by himself, was so overwhelmed that while the Priest was at the altar preparing the sacrifice, he wandered into the sanctuary and tried to take hold of the Priest's hands and kiss them.  The Priest simply turned, smiled softly and led him down the steps, and had the MC (Master of Ceremonies - head Acolyte basically) take him back to a pew and look after him for a moment, and continued.

"Disruptive innocents" (children, the mentally handicapped) are owed, whenever possible, our patience.

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