Catholics/parish

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Question
Ave Maria!
When a person, either a Catholic or an person converting, with a autism spectrum disorder/condition wants to be socialize in the local parish it could be very difficult (even just attending Mass could be difficult). Then the person could feel  really lonely even at church with a lot of nice people.
What do you have to say about this?

Answer
I think a lot of so-called normals could also feel lonely. Catholicism is a very broad religion. It contains charismatics, contemplatives, and many in-between. If someone with autism feels marginalized within the church, he or she might consider talking to their priest about any social programs within the church for people with autism. Because it is such a large religion, I would be surprised if any didn't exist. I hope this helps.

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Michael Clark, Ph.D.

Expertise

I'm a progressive Catholic--not a liberal, conservative nor a single-minded critic of Catholicism. I simply believe that adults in the 21C should use the mind God gave them and not just repeat ancient and medieval modes of thinking.

I can probably help with questions that intelligently and respectfully question those aspects of Catholicism that are not infallible. But if you're looking for someone to vigorously defend or perhaps refute Catholicism as a whole, that's not me. So please ask another expert.

Experience

I run an educational website earthpages.org and know what the web has to offer. I might suggest hyperlinks and/or book titles as I have a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and a considerable personal library.

Publications
Print Media:
My table from "Religions and Cults" at earthpages.org is reproduced with permission in L. Lindsey, S. Beach and B. Ravelli, Core Concepts in Sociology, 2nd ed., p. 157

World Wide Web:
My online article "Letter to God" coauthored with Buddhist monk, E. Raymond Rock, appears on several different spirituality-based websites, including http://tinyurl.com/db7a5o

I've interviewed, as a Christian, a self-proclaimed mystic: http://tinyurl.com/cawykr

My articles appeared at the former New View magazine nuvunow.ca and are published at earthpages.org.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Religious Studies
M.A. in Comparative Religion
B.A. Hon. in Psychology/Sociology
For more info, please see my CV and letters of recommendation and my blog at michaelwclark.com.

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