Boy's Holy Communion Ban- Daily Mail Newspaper- Exclusive News Story- ***January 2012***

Clare Ellarby contacted us after a priest refused to allow her Down's Syndrome son, Denum, to take Holy communion.


Mrs Ellarby wanted us to help raise awareness of the issue and we sold her story to the Daily Mail newspaper.

The family were delighted with the article and we are now handling all her press attention.


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The parents of a seven-year-old boy with Down's Syndrome have accused the Catholic Church of 'cruel discrimination' for refusing to allow him to take Holy Communion.

Denum Ellarby attends a mainstream Roman Catholic primary school and his parents wanted him to join his classmates in the First Communion ceremony.

But they claim their parish priest refused to consider him for the necessary preparation classes and was 'abrupt' when Denum's mother Clare tried to discuss the matter with him.

Mrs Ellarby said she complained to diocese chiefs, but they have backed Father Patrick Mungovin's stance that the boy would not sufficiently 'understand the preparation' or be able to 'enjoy participation in Mass'.

The church has denied banning Denum and says it hopes he will be ready to participate  in the important religious ceremony in  the future.


Children being prepared for their First Communion, when they receive the 'body and blood of Christ' for the first time, are expected regularly to attend Mass on a Sunday.

Mrs Ellarby, 30, said Denum doesn't go every Sunday 'as a one-hour Mass is simply too long for him'.

Row: Denum's parents have collected signatures in a petition supporting the schoolboy who attends St Mary of the Angels Church in Batley

Row: Denum's parents have collected signatures in a petition supporting the schoolboy who attends St Mary of the Angels Church in Batley

But she and her husband Darren, 36, a property developer, said they expected the church to allow Denum to be taught about the Catholic faith at home and that the authorities would be 'flexible' as is customary for children with learning disabilities.

The couple have collected 400 signatures on a petition supporting Denum in only two weeks.

Mother-of-three Mrs Ellarby, of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, said: 'I believe it is because of his disability that they won't accept him. I feel very upset my son is  being discriminated against and I feel really let down by the  Catholic faith.

'They need to have more compassion. What they are doing is so cruel. As a child with Down's Syndrome he may never have a full understanding of what it is about.'

Although Denum does not read or write and strangers have difficulty understanding what he says, Mrs Ellarby said: 'I think he is very bright. He is doing everything that a child with Down's Syndrome would normally do.'

Mrs Ellarby said four generations of her family had worshipped at St Mary of the Angels Church in Batley where Denum was baptised and where she wanted him to take his First Communion as she had done as a child. Denum also goes to her old school, St Mary's Primary.

Cross: Denum Ellarby, aged seven, attends a mainstream Roman Catholic primary school - and all his classmates will be receiving First Holy Communion Michael McQuinn, the Leeds diocese Vicar General, said in a letter that Father Mungovin was not 'unreasonable in sharing the view that Denum should proceed to  First Sacraments when he will be better placed to understand the preparation and to enjoy participation in Mass'.

A diocese spokesman said: 'Christians come to share fully in the life of the Christian Church through the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation.

'Often Baptism is celebrated for babies in order to bring them into the life of the Church but they only proceed to the sacrament of First Communion when they take part in the




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