US judge rules priest can exclude disruptive boy

 A judge in America has upheld the right of a parish priest to exclude an autistic boy from his church because of his disruptive behaviour. The Minnesota Star-Tribune reports that Todd County District Judge Sally Ireland Robertson, upheld a restraining order, saying the parents of 13 year old Adam Race "have been unable to prevent their adult sized minor child from repeated incidents of unwanted and intrusive conduct" at St Joseph Catholic Church in Bertha. Fr Dan Walz banned Adam from his church because of his behaviour which seriously disrupted Mass on many occasions. In her ruling judge Robertson noted that Adam, who is 188 cm tall and weighs and 102 kg, had "repeatedly, though unintentionally, disrupted church services and intruded on the solemnity, quietude, and privacy of the Mass in several ways." These include making loud noises, flailing his arms, urinating on the floor, hitting a smaller child, bumping into elderly parishioners, running into the church parking lot and starting a vehicle, pulling a teenage girl onto his lap and holding her there for 15 minutes and resisting his parents' efforts to restrain him. Adam's mother, Carol Race said she was shocked by the ruling and was considering further appeals. She said: "The Catholic Church takes a strong stand on including people with disabilities, This isn't a Father Dan church; this is a Catholic church." Jane Marrin, director of pastoral planning for St Cloud Diocese, said that St Joseph's "is involved in mediation with the family, and it's the parish's hope that we can come to a mutually acceptable solution. That has been the goal all along for the parish, and the judge's ruling doesn't rule that out."

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