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Inclusion must “become a mentality” to end the isolation of deaf people, says Pope Francis

Antoine Mekary / ALETEIA / I.MEDIA

More must be done to recognize every person's desire to be welcomed and to be able to live independently, Francis said

Inclusion must “become a mentality and a culture” in order to eliminate the barriers of exclusion faced by deaf people, said Pope Francis in a message to the National Deaf Association on the occasion of the 60th International Day of the Deaf, September 28.

“Many of you have reached your social and professional position, even at a high level, with great difficulty because of your deafness,” the pontiff said, “and this is a great human and civil conquest.” 

But more must be done to recognize every person’s “desire to be welcomed and to be able to live independently,” the pope said. “The challenge is for inclusion to become a mentality and a culture,” he continued.

“We are called together to go against the current,” he said, to “break down all the barriers that prevent the possibility of relationship and meeting in autonomy and of reaching an authentic culture and practice of inclusion.” 

The pontiff also welcomed the fact that deaf people have responsibilities in the Church and in the field of evangelization. Then, he expressed his desire that in every diocese deaf people cooperate with “pastoral agents prepared in sign language, lip-reading, and subtitling” to ensure that “deaf people may be fully integrated into the Christian community and that their sense of belonging may grow.”

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