The Carol Race Story: a quick update

June 25, 2008 § Leave a comment

Carol Race had a hearing to determine if the pairsh of The Parish of St. Joseph In Bertha, Minn was justified in obtaining a restraining order aginst her for bring her son, Adam, who is 13 and autistic to mass. 

You can read more about the hearing at: In Forum News and at The Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune.

You can read more about this story and the other items I have written on autism here.

 

 

Funny questions from the past few weeks.

June 10, 2008 § 2 Comments


Eugene De Blaas — The Love Letter

Every once in a while I like to go through the search terms people use to find this site to see what questions are being asked to lead people here.  Funny enough sometimes I know that they won’t find the answer they are looking for in what I have written, even more humorous is when I actually know the answers anyhow.  Here are some of the latest.

What is a child receiving communion called?    Anyone who is entitled to receive communion can be called a communicant.  For first communion it would be “first communicant”.  

Where can I learn the catholic rosary?   Not here,  but The Rosary Center  or Catholic Online both have the prayers.  And you can use the same Rosary beads for a chaplet as well.  My favorite is the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

What is the most important moment in my life?  You are in it.  Right now is the most important moment in your life.  It is the only moment you have any control over.  All choices are made in the now.  All plans, all dreams depend on how we live the little moments of our lives.  Who and what you are living this moment for makes all the difference. 

Does the Grotto in Portland have the luminous mysteries?  I don’t remember them having them.  Their website is here and their Rosary page is here

What does it mean to be living a Catholic life?  For me it means you are working on forming yourself, your conscience, your habits and practices in the image God wants for you, that you are striving to be like Him within the structure, the tradition and the support of Catholic teaching.  In short following the precepts of the Church.

As always the Catechism of the Church has a better answer than I could ever hope to form:

II. THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

2042 The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.”) requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the Mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic Celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.82The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year.”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.83

The third precept (“You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season”) guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.84 

2043 The fourth precept (“You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church”) ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.NT1

The fifth precept (“You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church”) means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.NT2

 

 

III. MORAL LIFE AND MISSIONARY WITNESS

2044 The fidelity of the baptized is a primordial condition for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the Church’s mission in the world. In order that the message of salvation can show the power of its truth and radiance before men, it must be authenticated by the witness of the life of Christians. “The witness of a Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have great power to draw men to the faith and to God.”88

2045 Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ,89 Christians contribute to building up the Church by the constancy of their convictions and their moral lives. The Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until “we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”90

2046 By living with the mind of Christ, Christians hasten the coming of the Reign of God, “a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.”91 They do not, for all that, abandon their earthly tasks; faithful to their master, they fulfill them with uprightness, patience, and love.

 

How do I prepare my autistic son for 1st Communion?  A lot of that will depend on where on the autism spectrum your son is.   I have written about First Communion and autism here.  In the US the most important document on the topic is: Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities.  Most pastors I have known have been very open to working with families dealing with disability issues.  There are some out there who aren’t and that is very sad but we are all human and struggle with our own fears, discomforts and prejudices and I would hope that we always keep in mind the Proverb: A mild answer calms wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger

As far as practical advice goes the two most helpful things in general I can say are: Practice with a few unconsecrated breads and wine before the actual sacrament so you can see if there are any taste or texture issues that might cause problems, and social stories are very helpful.    Your child’s school probably has software to help create one or you can find images online and put one together yourself.  One of these days I might get around to putting mine online.

Being a good wife means what?  You might be looking for the “1950’s home economic textbook’s 10 step guide to being a good wife”  here is it at snopes  or you might want Aristotle’s work “On a good wife“.  You might be looking for the Proverb 31 description or Titus 2 and in the end, even thoug one is a ‘joke’ they all have similar themes.  If you were to condense them all down  you get something like this:

A good wife is woman of worth in her own right.  She is someone who is thoughtful, just, kind, modest, graceful, respectable, honorable and faithful.  She takes good care of her home and household.  She is wise with her family’s assets.  She avoids any scandal.  She takes excellent care of her children and her family and shows consideration and charity to her community, the poor and the needy.  She loves her husband, showing him respect, support, devotion and affection.  Above all she serves God.  

I have written a little more on the topic of being a Good Wife here.

 

Carol Race launches Adam’s Pew Project

June 3, 2008 § Leave a comment

Carol Race has started a project and a website called “Project: Adam’s Pew“.  I assured her last week that I would provide the information about it here.   Yesterday she pled not guilty to violating the restraining order against her which she received when she took her family to mass at The Church of St. Joseph in Bertha, Minn.  Fr Dan Walz had obtained the restraining order on behalf of the parish due to Adam’s behaviors in mass extending from his autism.

She {Carol Race} said mediation with church leaders to settle her dispute is scheduled to start this week. Todd County Attorney Chuck Rasmussen said he hopes the case can be worked out before trial.

Carol seems very hopeful that the mediation will go well.  She said that she has a lot of confidence in the two arbitrators that have come into the situation and that the Diocese will have a representative there.  I believe she said it was the vicar general  which she sees as a good thing.   So do I.  If there is a problem with the priest over-reacting to the situation then having the Dioceses representative will help bring that issue forward and resolve it. 

So please keep the Race family, Adam and their parish in your prayers.  Please pray that all invovled will be able to discuss this issue with open hearts and minds and find a good solution.

About Carol Race from someone who knows her.

May 21, 2008 § 5 Comments

The Parish of St. Joseph In Bertha, Minn has barred Adam Race from attending mass because of behaviors stemming from his autism.  I honestly thought I was done blogging on this yesterday, having also blogged on it the day before, but then I received a heart-felt comment from a priest who knows Carol Race personally and wanted to post his take on the issues.  While his additional information hasn’t changed my personal feelings on this story I want to share them with you in a spirit of being fair, and also with the recognition that I do have a horse in this race so to speak and I don’t want my feelings clouding what is right and true. 

***
Update: 

My latest update on this story is here.

Would those of you who are interested in this story please remember Fr Showers, Carol Race and Adam in your prayers.  I know this is a difficult time for all of them.  I pray that God blesses them all with  peace and fortitude and understanding in discerning what is best for Adam.
***

Below is Fr. Robert G. Showers comment to my blog post “A little more about Adam Race” followed by my response to him.

Dear Darcee,

Thank you for this posting. I do hope that your anger has subsided. You seemed especially upset that Mrs. Race “spent the day lining up legal help.” I allow myself gently to point out that the pastor and the parish council are the ones who chose to unleash the media storm – they chose to go ahead with a restraining order and themselves reported the fact to the press, knowing full well the circus that would follow. After having been threatened with jail time and with news cameras already in her face, Mrs. Race was well advised to spend the day lining up legal help. The parish had lined up their legal help well in advance.

And she was advised. Mrs. Race took this step on the advice of advocacy groups for the handicapped of which she is an active member.

I know Mrs. Race because we studied theology together. This mom in Minnesota is actually a professional Roman Catholic theologian who studied dogmatic theology under the now Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph von Schönborn. Her love for the Church has been constant from her early work on the Catechism of the Catholic Church while she lived in Switzerland to her years as DRE in the Twin Cities to recent years, where she has served her parish in many capacities. She began writing about the place of children, including handicapped children, in the heart of the People of God from way before she could have known that she herself would become the mother of a severely autistic child. As the godfather of one of her children, I have followed this family for many years from my friary here in Scandinavia.

Please believe me, that it pains Mrs. Race a great deal that the Catholic Church is made to look bad. It is true that the parish “offered alternatives” – but all of these so called alternatives were ways to keep Adam out of the church, for example, they offered special Masses just for him in private at home, closed circuit transmissions of the Mass directly to his home – and other fanciful ideas designed to spare people the sight and sounds of a handicapped boy in church.

In my heart, I pray that I am wrong when I suspect that the real issue is fear. Some adults in that parish (including the priest) seem to be afraid of this autistic child, a fear born, it seems, of ignorance and prejudice. I feel like I am reading a novel about the 13th century, but fear of “odd” people strikes deep – in this sense, this truly IS an issue of faith.

I thank you for your insightful and honest comments. You have a good blog here.

Peace and all good,
Fr. Robert G. Showers OFM Conv.
guardian of Consolatrix Afflictorum Friary in Roskilde, Denmark

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A little more about Adam Race

May 20, 2008 § 2 Comments

Adam Race is the young autistic man in Bertha, Minn.  

The Church of St. Joseph in Bertha, Minn., filed a temporary restraining order barring Carol and John Race from bringing their 225-pound son, Adam, to church. An affidavit alleges Adam struck a child during mass, fought efforts to restrain him, pulled an adolescent girl to his lap and revved the engine of someone else’s car. A parish statement said the legal move was a last resort after church leaders tried to accommodate and mediate, but the family refused.

On Monday, after her court hearing was delayed until early June, Carol Race spent the day lining up legal help and giving interviews to national media.

*****

Update:

My latest update on this story is here.

It is funny how quickly thoughs and feelings can change.  While I disagree with Carol Race’s actions regaurding the media her own words about her situation are worth more than mine. 

If for some odd reason you really want my thoughts on the whole situation they are much better expressed here.

******

This is difficult and sad on so many levels, but lining up new interviews is not going to resolve the issue for her family.  My sense is that the Diocese of St Cloud would have never gone forward with a restraining order without knowing pretty solidly that they had a good case if it goes to court once it was violated.  Anyone with half a brain would see that this would be very bad publicity if it got out of hand.  All of that together makes me think that the situation in the parish had gotten very bad and the priest had exhausted all options.  I pray that this can all work out for the best for Adam, his family and the parish.

(Yes, I have serriously edited this post.  I was angry when I first wrote it, not just at Mrs. Race, but also at the media and how they have turned this into a “faith” issue when it is really not.)

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