Pope Francis laments the situations of those who are "hidden exiles," even within our own families.
Every person with disabilities — even if the disability is complex or grave — is a unique contribution to the common good through his or her own unique life story, Pope Francis said today in a message that marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The Holy Father has often renounced what he calls a “throw away culture,” lamenting that the disabled are not valued, are abandoned to loneliness, or even, in the case of the unborn, aborted.
He spoke of those who are “hidden exiles,” even within our homes and families.
I think of people of every age, especially the elderly who, also due to disabilities, are at times considered a burden, a “cumbersome presence,” and risk being discarded …
The pope called on all to accompany those with disabilities, even when it is a difficult journey, reminding that a “gaze of faith” sees in each brother and sister “the presence of Christ Himself, Who considers every gesture of love towards one of His least brothers to have been made to Himself.”
It is necessary to care for and accompany persons with disabilities in every condition of life, also making use of current technologies but without regarding them as absolute; with strength and tenderness, to take on board situations of marginalization; and to make way alongside them and to “anoint” them with dignity for an active participation in the civil and ecclesial community. It is a demanding, even tiring journey, which will increasingly contribute to forming consciences capable of recognizing that each one of us is a unique and unrepeatable person.