Things That Matter

Parents Angered After Priest Refuses To Offer Autistic Son First Communion

First Communion is a very important moment in any Catholic child’s life. The family gets together to watch the little ones walk down the church aisles in white and partake in the sacrament for the first time. For one family, however, a priest has taken that moment away from them because their child is autistic.

The LaCugna family is upset that their autistic son was denied his First Communion.

Credit: Jimmy LaCugna / Facebook

Jimmy LaCugna took to Facebook to share his disappointment with his church for denying his special needs son his First Communion. First Communion is one of the most important moments in a young Catholics life and the family feels like it has been taken away from them.

“They said there is no way he can make his Communion. He doesn’t understand what the Holy Communion is about,” Nicole LaCugna told News 12 New Jersey. “Nowhere in the Bible does it ever show discrimination of anybody.”

Since the Facebook post by Jimmy, the church tried to change course then deleted their reversal from Facebook.

Credit: Jimmy LaCugna / Facebook

Allegedly, the church released a statement that painted the LaCugna family as being dishonest about the situation. However, it was deleted from their Facebook page without warning.

The post initially stated that “new information has come to light” stating that children with intellectual and cognitive disabilities “should be presumed to have an inner spiritual relationship with God.”

“My heart shattered,” Nicole told the New York Post. “My first thought was, how do you take a child who was one of God’s children and say that he is not good enough, basically, to be making the sacrament?”

At the center of the controversy is the fact that Rev. John Bambrick made the decision but hasn’t addressed the family personally.

Credit: Facebook

In a statement posted to the church’s website, Rev. Bambrick blames the controversy on a breakdown of communication.

“With the guidance and support of Bishop David O’Connell, we were able to discern a way for the child to receive First Holy Communion without any delay,” Rev Bambrick stated. “We have made the family aware of this development and hope to be able to meet with them to discuss it. Their child continues to be welcome in our program, and will be able to receive First Holy Communion this year.”

Catholic parishioners have been shocked and dismayed by this church’s handling of a child with special needs.

Credit: @TaylorCVaughn / Twitter

The decision to withhold the child’s First Communion for mental or health issues isn’t the first time. A quick Google search brings back several cases of children being denied their First Communion because of mental or health issues.

READ: 21 Things Latinos From Catholic Families Know To Be True

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New Findings Show That QAnon Followers Are More Likely to Suffer From Mental Illness

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New Findings Show That QAnon Followers Are More Likely to Suffer From Mental Illness

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It’s no secret that QAnon followers subscribe to some outlandish ideas. The biggest one being that the government is run by a cabal of elite, satan-worshipping pedophiles. And while critics could chalk up these conspiracy theorists to a few gullible internet users, the reality is much more complicated than that.

According to new research, QAnon followers are more likely to suffer from mental illness than the rest of the population.

The data comes from a study conducted by Georgia State University by radicalization expert, Dr. Sophia Moskalenko. According to her findings, out of the QAnon followers arrested for crimes since 2018,  68% “reported they had received mental health diagnoses.” That’s in comparison to 19% of the rest of the population.

These diagnoses were manifold: post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, Munchausen by proxy syndrome, as well as depression, anxiety and addiction struggles. These numbers were self-reported by QAnon offenders via social media posts or through interviews.

Due to these numbers, Dr. Moskalenko concludes that “QAnon is less a problem of terrorism and extremism than it is one of poor mental health.”

According to Dr. Moskalenko’s research, 44% of the QAnon insurrectionists “experienced a serious psychological trauma that preceded their radicalization, such as physical or sexual abuse of themselves or their children.” These past traumas may explain why QAnon supporters are more likely to believe outlandish conspiracies of elite government pedophile rings.

As Dr. Moskalenko writes: “In my view, the solution to this aspect of the QAnon problem is to address the mental health needs of all Americans – including those whose problems manifest as QAnon beliefs. Many of them – and many others who are not QAnon followers – could clearly benefit from counseling and therapy.”

Since COVID-19 radically changed most people’s way of life, mental health problems skyrocketed in the United States.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of people suffering from anxiety and depression quadrupled during quarantine. It doesn’t seem a coincidence, therefore, that the QAnon movement gained such momentum during a year when people were already suffering from extreme stress and isolation.

But just because QAnon followers are more likely to suffer from mental illness, that does not mean that every person who suffers from mental illness is a QAnon follower.

It’s unfortunate that power-hungry politicians have leveraged the beliefs of already-vulnerable people to their advantage.

In a time when so many people feel much more fragile than they did before, there are some bad actors out there who are using misguided conspiracy theorists to push their own agenda.

Politicians like Donald Trump, Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene have used QAnon rhetoric to recruit voters. Instead, they should be getting their constituents the help they need instead of manipulating and taking advantage of them. These so-called leaders are preying upon people who are unwell and looking for help and guidance.

As one Twitter user wrote: “‘Q Anon’ has consumed those already plagued with mental illness. We need to address this because this is how ordinary American citizens become radicalized.”

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Nike Partners With Crisis Text Line To Expand The Conversation Of Mental Health And Athletics

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Nike Partners With Crisis Text Line To Expand The Conversation Of Mental Health And Athletics

Courtesy of Nike

Mental health and wellness is crucial in everyday life, whether you are an athlete or not. It is even more crucial to have someone to talk to when you are feeling those lows. Nike and their athletes have partnered with Crisis Text Line to help expand access to critical mental health and wellness resources.

Nike and Crisis Text Line want to help athletes access mental health and wellness resources.

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According to Athletes for Hope, an estimated 46.6 million people in the U.S. are living with a mental health condition. That is roughly 1 in every 5 adults who will face a mental health challenge in their lifetime. There are a lot of ways that people manage their symptoms, including physical activity, but that doesn’t mean that athletes are immune to mental health struggles.

Thirty-three percent of young adults including college athletes face mental health crises. However, among college athletes, the study states that about 10 percent seek help. Meanwhile 35 percent of professional athletes face a mental health crisis.

Nike and their athletes want to change the conversation around mental health and wellness.

“Nike’s really committed to helping all athletes whether they’re elite athletes or everyday athletes,” Vanessa Garcia-Brito, the vice president of North America Communications, says. “Not everyone is comfortable talking about that and not everyone knows how to get support. Not everyone has access to it either. Nike’s really hoping to change that.”

That is why Nike teamed up with Crisis Text Line and included their athletes into the conversation. Not only does Nike want people to have access to the necessary resources, the athletics company hopes to combat the stigma around people seeking mental health help.

Laurie Hernandez is one of the athletes working with Nike to destigmatize talking about mental health.

Garcia-Brito is enthusiastic about the partnership and what Hernandez, Hayden Hurst, and Scout Bassett offer in bring involved. The athletes are using their own mental health crises to relate to people seeking help.

Hernandez understands struggling with mental health and wellness as a young athlete. The world watched Hernandez as she competed in gymnastics representing the U.S. at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“Especially reaching the Olympics at such a young age and hitting 16 and all of those changes that happened after that,” Hernandes recalls. “Mental health was a really big topic.”

The athletes are sharing their own experiences to encourage others to seek help.

“You have to take care of yourself first and foremost,” Paralympic athlete Scout Bassett says. “If you don’t you’re not going to be able to be not just the best version of yourself but you’re not going to be able to help out somebody else if you yourself are not well.”

Garcia-Brito is inspired by the athlete’s willingness to come forward and share their stories. Garcia-Brito says that the athletes being so open about their own struggles is creating a space for Nike employees and others to have honest conversations about their mental health issues.

“We know there is no off-season for mental health and it isn’t just about being ready for those moment son urgent need It’s also about cultivating a healthy mind and body for everyday life,” Garcia-Brito says. “We’re always looking for new ways in which we can serve our athletes physically and mentally.

Nike is here to help people access the mental health they need.

“So we are thrilled to partner with Nike to advance the conversation about mental health and expand the support that is available,” Chief Transformation Officer Dr. Shairi Turner says.

If you need some help finding resources, you can text “STRONG” to 741-741.

READ: Olympian Laurie Hernandez Is Back And Just Gave A Powerful “Hamilton” Inspired Performance

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