A New Jersey family is fighting for its Roman Catholic church to rescind its refusal to let a son with autism make his first communion.
The rejection went viral after 8-year-old Anthony LaCugna’s father posted the little boy’s plight on Facebook.
"I just want my son to be treated like everybody else," the child's mom, Nicole LaCugna, told ABC’s New York affiliate.
"Regardless if it's through church, through school, society. He needs the same rights that we all have."
St. Aloysius in Jackson Township told Nicole and her husband, Jimmy, on Tuesday that young Anthony, who is autistic and non-verbal, could not receive the sacrament from the Rev. John Bambrick because the little boy’s disability prevents him from determining right from wrong, the mother told NJ.com.
Yet Nicole Lacugna said she’d been dealing with the school for almost two years and was shocked at Bambrick's decision.
"We've never had any communication with him, never, not once," she told ABC. "He doesn't even know my son."
After Jimmy LaCugna’s post created a social media firestorm, the church appeared to reconsider, and issued a statement noting "Since Monday, we have been researching how we could best assist the most profoundly disabled in a better way."
But it says nothing about Anthony.
"It doesn't say Anthony can do his communion this year," Jimmy LaCugna said. "It doesn't say they will work with us."
Nicole Lacugna was furious at the church’s handling of the matter. "It's a disgrace to our religion," she told ABC.
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