A 9-year-old girl is at the centre of a controversy in the Catholic Church, after she was denied her First Communion because she wanted to wear a suit.
Cady Mansell has always had an eye for fashion and decided that for her First Communion she would wear a brand-new all-white suit. “It kind of sparkles in the sunlight,” she said.
However, when officials at Cady’s school heard about her planned attire, they warned her parents that she would not be allowed to take her First Communion with the rest of her class unless she wore a skirt or dress.
Cady’s parents insisted their daughter should be allowed to wear her special suit, and the argument escalated with neither side backing down.
It resulted in Cady being taken out of her school and church by her parents.
Cady said: “It made me sad and mad, we should all be equal and wear what we would like.”
An official from St John the Evangelist School said: “We have a dress code in place for our school. We consistently enforce that.
“Most people have dress codes at work. They have dress codes for other things. They’re in place for a reason: so that there’s a consistent, uniformly enforced dress code.”
The Rev Sammie Maletta, the priest at St John the Evangelist told Cady’s mum that she could attend the Church after the school and receive her First Communion privately.
Cady’s mother, Chris said: “We couldn’t go to the real Communion Mass. We would have to wait until all the kids left the building, then come in like a secret. No picture, no anything, like we were ashamed of her. I said, ‘That’s not an option.’ ”
The situation escalated further when Cady’s father was pulled to one side by Rev Maletta at a rehearsal for the ceremony.
According to Chris, he told them: “You’re raising your daughter wrong. You’re setting bad examples for her. She doesn’t have the brain development and maturity to decide if she wants to wear a suit. It’s your job as a parent to say, ‘You’re not wearing a suit. You’re wearing a dress.’ If you won’t do this, you’re raising your daughter wrong.”
The family decided to take their daughters out of school and out of the Church. Chris also gave up her job as a teaching assistant at St John the Evangelist.
“He already said I was raising my daughter wrong and we’re bad parents. At that point, I don’t want to be in an organization like that,” Chris said.
Cady is currently settling in to the new Catholic school her parents found, and looking forward to taking her First Communion.