ELISA MEYER,Chris Mansell ,worldreligionnews

Cady Mansell, a nine-year-old girl from Crown Point in Indiana is different from her compatriots. She finds skirts itchy and loves to dress up in a smart suit. Her fashion sense includes pairing sharp vests with long black slacks. She also loves to put on nail polish, lipstick and an assorted collection of flowery headbands. She is so confident in her dressing sense that Chris Mansell, her mother, proudly says that she learns what it means to be quirky from her daughter. Her mother adds, “But most importantly, confidence. She’s never been afraid to be who she is.”
Cady's family knew she would be completely herself during her much anticipated First Holy Communion, a notable event in the life of young Catholics. The Catholic religion was always a part of the fourth grader's life. Chris, her mother, was a Catholic nun who left that life after she felt the Holy Spirit wanted her to be a parent. For Chris, it is vital that her daughter is raised the correct Catholic way. She wants her daughter to participate in the sacraments of the church. To top it all, the parish priest accused her and her husband of bad parenting as Cady, he believed, did not have the mental maturity and development to take a decision on what she will wear. It was evident that she would wear something she would feel comfortable in. Cady's family thus went with her to a fancy boutique and made her a bespoke suit. The suit not only fitted her perfectly, it was also fancy sparkling white.
To Cady-and her parents'- dismay, leaders of St. John the Evangelist school, the institution where the fourth grader studied were not impressed. The parish priest Reverend Sammie L. Maletta and the school administrators contacted them prior to her First Communion service and informed them that in case she would wear the suit, she would not receive any First Communion rites at the same time as her classmates. Church officials said she must conform to the dress code laid down by the church. This involves wearing a skirt. If she is not willing to do so, she must have a private ceremony. All these are options that make Cady unaccepted. Cady was naturally heartbroken to hear such strictures. Her mother told the media that she was excited about the event as she felt that the event will bring her a step nearer to attaining full church membership. She wanted to become the altar server. When contacted, the church authorities said that dress codes are uniformly imposed on all parish school students and on religious rites.


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