“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Saturday, October 23, 2004

"Make the little children suffer," I mean, "Suffer the little children"

I was talking to a Catholic friend today. She told me how her priest didn't want kids with disability to come to catechism because they were too noisy.

"The little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, "Let the little children who are quiet come to me and do not hinder them" (sorry, strike that) "Let the little chidren come to me and do not hinder them unless they are disabled" (sorry, my bad again) "'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there." (some old texts say, "Suffer the little children to come to me")(Matthew 19:13-15)

I suspect the children in this case were perfect little angels, bright eyed and intelligent, without a blemish of any kind, and quiet, wonderfully quiet. They were also probably clean and dressed well, oh yeah, and with good social skills. You see a lot of children like that running around in third world countries, particularly 2000 years ago.

If it weren't for how wrong it is it could be laughable. "The kids are too noisy." I would love to go toe to toe with such a person and have him name 15 children with disability that he knows, and how much time he has spent with them which gives him the experience to make such claims to those under him. Have Christian leaders never heard the story of the little children and Jesus? And what was the point of them coming to him? So that he could place his hands on them, one would assume to give them a blessing.

Our response today is not only do we not want to bless them, we may actually want to curse them. "They are too noisy" or "They have bad social skills" or "They are a black hole for service" or "They will disrupt the other children." In contrast, imagine a catechism class where the teacher says, "Jesus allowed all children to come to him, and so will we. We all need to learn to accept and love all children, so as long as I am the Catechist, these children will be given access."

An accepting situation such as this truly will reflect that "the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

No retreat.


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