Adam Race Updates on Memorial Day

There have been some interesting updates of late in the case of Adam Race, the autistic boy who was banned from the Bertha, Minnesota “Church of St. Joseph” by its pastor, Fr. Daniel Walz.

Adam’s mother, Carol, has been taking her family to another church for the past couple of weeks, but she hasn’t given up on Adam or on her desire to attend her local church. As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Mrs. Race now has commitments from several parents with autistic children who are willing to drive up to several hours to bring their children to the church. Such a show of symbolic support is wonderful to see, and would that I could be there (along with my fiancee and her son, of course) to see Walz’ face on that Sunday morning.

Also, an earlier article in the same newspaper points out an interesting, ironic fact.

In 2005, the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud presented Carol Race, Adam’s mother, with an award, recognizing her efforts to encourage families with disabled children to attend mass, she said. The award cited her “untiring efforts … to educate and advocate for others who have children with disruptive disabilities such as autism and seek to participate as a total family at Sunday mass.”

It’s interesting to note the sudden shift in the winds here. First she’s a hero for bringing her entire family, autistic boy included, to mass every Sunday. Now, two years later, her son is a pariah for the same reason. It’s also sad to note that the Diocese can’t even mention autism in an award without calling it a “disruptive disability.”

My earlier blog on this subject was definitely polarizing among those who commented. Most people seemed to come down on the side of the family, but there were a surprising number of apologists for what Daniel Walz has done.  One, a fellow named Ben from Minnesota who says he attends Walz’ church, even called me and other commenters hypocrites.  (Well, he said we were disrespecting Hippocrates, but I translated.)  Ben apparently fears for my soul because I’m “messing with one of God’s employees.”  If that’s the case, so be it.  God’s personnel department needs work.  I’m mainly glad to see that the issue is attracting attention.  Attention is what autism has not been getting, and the most dangerous thing to a person with autism is ignorance.

One commenter objected to all the bad things that are being said (presumably by me, since my first post was fairly acidic) about Daniel Walz.  I’m sorry if the things I’ve said offend, but what the man has done is inexcusable, and he’s making no move to correct that mistake.  This adversely affects my view of him as a priest, a man, and a human.  When I become that disdainful toward someone, I generally do not hold back; whatever else this blog may be, at its heart it is a vent.


  1. Thanks for the update, Scott. I just hope everyone involved in this sorry situation learns a lot more about Autism. It isn’t something to be hushed up and forgotten about.
    If you ever have doubts about what happens when you try to help your fellow man, I hope you remember to keep on speaking out; it is a worthy and noble thing to encourage debate that may bring understanding.

  2. Me, I’d stay away from church full stop. If there was any substance to the teaching of a man who was around 2000 years ago, a man made institution like the church wouldnt have the key to it.

  3. Please keep us updated and thanks so much for bringing this to light. I have worked with people with special needs for over 20 years and we have come a long ways, it is people like this priest that send us back a few years.

  4. I find my self with an unusual lack of energy. Perhaps the mulitple situations in the news as well as one brewing very close to home have saturated me with a general air of disappointment in our education system. I am part of that system, yet I find myself being put under a microscope because I had the audacity to speak out for a child’s best interests. I cannot elaborate now. I know Scott wants to blog without censor and is waiting only for me to be out of harms way before unleashing a torrent that will raise the blood pressure of many. I thank him for his patience.

    The world is a harsh place for those who do not fit within the norm. There are days when my energy abounds and I could knock down walls bare fisted if that is what it took to fight for one of my children or students. Then there are the days when my strength leaves me because someone unloaded some emotional kryptonite in my path and I have to withdraw and heal for a bit before continuing. Scott says when I am on a mission, I am like a bulldozer with no mercy. Well for now I feel like I have thrown a track, run out of gas and need some serious repairs.

    I imagine it is the same for the Races and those who would help them. Consider that and see if there is some way to send them some personal messages of support. Even the most devoted advocate can be overwhelmed. Hold them in your prayers and hearts. Let them hear your support. Its the small voices from outside that give strength when all the daily voices have grown too loud.

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