iOS app Android app More

Denum Ellarby Refused Communion Because He Has Down Syndrome, Parents Say

First Posted: 01/21/2012 3:10 pm Updated: 01/21/2012 4:34 pm

Clare Ellarby says her child wasn't allowed to take his first Holy Communion because he has Down Syndrome.

In a letter from the Diocese of Leeds, Ellarby was told that her seven-year-old Denum Ellarby lacks the "concentration" necessary to prepare for Communion, according to the BBC. The Diocese also said children can "only proceed to the sacrament of First Communion when they take part in the Church's life and understand the Church's faith".

"It's just disgusting," Ellarby told the BBC. "I feel really let down by the Catholic faith."

A spokesperson for the diocese told the Catholic Herald "Denum's family has not participated in the regular life of the Church or in the preparation preceding First Communion. We hope that this will change as Denum grows and we are working with him and his family to help him achieve this."

The Christian Post reports that Clare and Denum's father Darren have started a petition in support of their son.

"They need to have more compassion," Clare Ellarby told the Post. "What they are doing is so cruel."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Denum Ellarby has autism.
FOLLOW HUFFPOST RELIGION

Filed by Simon McCormack  |