"It hurts and I think it's a form of discrimination."
That's how Irma Castro, grandmother of 8-year-old Kevin, describes the actions of one Catholic priest in Floresville, TX. That priest denied Kevin his first communion because, he says, Kevin has cerebral palsy and thus the mental capacity of a 6-month-old.
"He said because he was not able to understand the meaning of receiving the body of Christ," Castro told KSAT-TV:
Canon law requires that a child receiving holy communion have "sufficient knowledge" of Christ, but it doesn't define what level of knowledge is considered sufficient.
Deacon Pat Rodgers, with the Archdiocese of San Antonio, said oftentimes the decision lies with the pastor.
"It's never our desire, hope or wish to withhold a sacrament from someone who wants or needs it," Rodgers said.
Father Henning said he offered Castro an alternative to the first communion. He offered them the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.
"That is the anointing they give you before death. That was very offensive," Castro said.