UCA News
Contribute

Pope slams culture that marginalizes people with disabilities

Pope Francis was speaking at a three-day plenary session on 'Disability and the Human Condition' at the Vatican
Pope Francis meets with members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Pope Francis meets with members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. (Photo: Vatican News)

Published: April 12, 2024 05:17 AM GMT
Updated: April 12, 2024 05:20 AM GMT

Today's "throwaway culture," driven by "profit, efficiency and success," marginalizes people with disabilities and threatens their God-given dignity, Pope Francis said.

Using "utilitarian and functional criteria" to decide the value of a human life can lead to "serious violations of the rights of the weakest people" and create "great injustice and inequality," he told members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences April 11.

The academy, formed by scholars from around the globe, held a three-day plenary session on "Disability and the Human Condition" at the Vatican.

Meeting with them on the last day of their conference, Pope Francis highlighted a "less visible and very insidious" aspect of today's culture that erodes the value of disabled persons in the eyes of society: "the tendency that leads one to consider their own existence a burden to his- or herself and to his or her loved ones."

"The spread of this mentality transforms the throwaway culture into a culture of death," he said.

The pope condemned the idea that certain lives are "not needed," such as the unborn who are aborted or the elderly who pursue assisted suicide.

To combat a "throwaway culture," Pope Francis proposed promoting a "culture of inclusion" which removes the barriers that impede all people from accessing basic rights and freedoms.

While he said such active efforts are predominantly seen in economically developed countries, the pope encouraged the international community to support the efforts of poorer nations to further include disabled persons in all fields of society, including education, culture, work and sport.

Yet Pope Francis also noted that true inclusion occurs "when people with disabilities are not passive recipients but participate in social life as protagonists of change."

The pope underscored the injustice of people and their families being pushed to the margins of society due to disability, particular in poor countries, but he noted how even in wealthier contexts a person's disability "is considered a 'personal tragedy'" and not taken into consideration by the whole of society.

Jesus did not ignore or turn away people with disabilities, he said, rather he went out to meet them and "changed the meaning of their experience."

"Indeed, for him, every human condition, even those marked by great limitations, is an invitation to weave a singular relationship with God who makes people flourish once again," the pope said.

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
Publisher
UCA News
comment

Share your comments

1 Comments on this Story
DR.CAJETAN COELHO
Persons with disabilities and able-bodied fellow mortals are companions on a common happy journey.
Asian Bishops
Latest News
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia