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Of course the disabled can be happy and fulfilled, affirms pope

Alessandra Tarantino | AP Photo
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Says it's narcissistic and utilitarian to think otherwise; defends the unborn from "eugenic tendency"

Vulnerability is part of what it means to be human, according to Pope Francis, who says that it is “narcissistic and utilitarian” to think that those with disabilities can’t be happy.

The pope said this to a group of people studying the challenges of catechesis for persons with disabilities at a conference held in Rome last weekend and organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. The conference participants were received in audience by Pope Francis on October 21.

The pontiff denounced the “narcissistic and utilitarian” view that holds that people with disabilities are incapable of happiness.

Over the course of recent decades, the Successor of Peter observed, there has been a growing awareness of the “dignity of every person.” And yet, he lamented, a “narcissistic and utilitarian” vision of life, according to which people with disabilities would be unable to be “happy and self-fulfilled,” persists on a cultural level.

This leads to “a eugenic tendency to eliminate the unborn child that shows some form of imperfection.”

It is, he argued, “dangerously deceptive to think we are invulnerable,” adding that “vulnerability is part of what it means to be human.”

When dealing with people with disabilities, suggested the Bishop of Rome, we must respond with “real, concrete and respectful” love.

“Lasting happiness,” he said, comes from being “welcomed and loved, included in the community.”

The Church has the duty of accommodating and accompanying people with disabilities and their families—in particular, during Sunday Mass and catechesis–because “no physical or mental limitation can ever hinder this encounter” with Christ.

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