Indiana parish defends First Communion dress code barring girls in pants

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An Indiana parish's First Communion dress code for children has generated media controversy after a girl was barred from wearing a pantsuit while receiving the sacrament.

St. John the Evangelist Parish and School, located in St. John, Ind., about 20 miles southwest of Gary, had said that a 9-year-old girl was required to wear a dress for her first Holy Communion. She had wanted to wear a white suit, according to her longtime habit.

The girl, Cady, said she did not like dresses and said they were “too itchy,” the Chicago-based ABC affiliate WLS-TV.

Chris Mansell, the girl’s mother, claimed the parish priest said the girl would not be given Holy Communion if she came in a suit.

Mansell said her husband told the priest, “Well, I guess we’re done here. I think I’m leaving your church.”

The girl missed her first Holy Communion and the family has decided to go to a different church.

A statement from the parish said that it “uniformly enforces dress codes at our parish school and for religious rites.”

“We often have requests for exceptions to the dress code, ranging from sneakers to the color of one's shirt; thus, we have consistently chosen to adhere to the dress code rather than allowing a myriad of exceptions to it,” the parish said.

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