Pope Francis and the Australian Bishops had some good words about those with disabilities for International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I wrote about this on FrMatthewLC.com so I’ll quote a bit of that here.
Tomorrow is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. (Obviously, some of us – particularly the blind, Deaf & autistic – prefer identity-first language but most disabled people prefer person-first language.) The Church celebrates it on the closest Sunday (i.e. in three days). This year, I was most impressed by the Australian bishops’ words so I’ll focus on them. But, I’ll mention what the Pope said first. […]
I want to emphasize several of the points in that quoted document makes. I notice they are not always present even in good disability ministry.
The document talks about “active participation,” being “agents of their own life,” and “mak[ing] their own contribution to the common good.” This would indicate that the disabled are not just called to be served but to go deeper and actually serve the community as well. This fulfills a deeper good than just serving them.
It also puts “ignorance, intolerance, injustice and exclusion” as the main issue. It lists the antidote as understanding “the dignity and humanity of the person.”
It speaks about the diversity of experience. Even among autistics, I don’t want to generalize my experience too much. I went and got a few dozen testimonies of autistic prayer for my book. The issues I have vs a person in a wheelchair are likely very different, so it’s even harder.
Finally, the whole issue of an “Us,” not a “Them.” We are all together as brothers and sisters in the same family of the Church, not different groups.
You can read the rest over there.
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