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The disabled shouldn’t be aborted or euthanized, says Pope

POPE-AUDIENCE-PAUL VI HALL - AUGUST 30 - 2023

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 04/11/24

An insidious factor in society: “the tendency to make individuals view their life as a burden both for themselves and for their loved ones"

Pope Francis called for the defense of life and the protection of those who are most vulnerable, including unborn children with disabilities, in two speeches he gave on the morning of April 11, 2024. His appeal comes just a few days after the publication of Dignitas infinita on April 8, a declaration by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on human dignity, which strongly condemned gender theory, sex changes, surrogacy, abortion, and euthanasia.

This morning, Pope Francis received two groups of experts belonging to different Vatican bodies. One group was the participants of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, who are experts that study and research today’s most pressing challenges, such as artificial intelligence. This Academy’s president is Dominican nun, Helen Alford.

The other group were the participants of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, a 20-member body chaired by the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández.

“No” to the culture of death

Addressing the academics of the social sciences on the theme of the inclusion of people with disabilities, the Pope lamented that “in various parts of the world, many persons and families continue to be isolated and forced to the margins of social life because of disabilities.” He said this is especially the case in poorer areas of the world where people with disabilities are often condemned to “extreme poverty.”

In more developed countries, the Pope noted that people with disabilities are victims of another kind of marginalization, based on a “utilitarian and functional criteria” that pretends to determine “when a life has value and is worth being lived.”

“Such a mentality can lead to grave violations of the rights of the most vulnerable, to serious injustices and situations of inequality, resulting for the most part from the mindset of profit, efficiency, and success,” he warned. “The throwaway culture, in effect, has no borders.”

The head of the Catholic Church also denounced “a less visible but extremely insidious factor” present in modern societies, “that erodes the value of the disabled in the eyes of society and in their own eyes.”

“It is the tendency to make individuals view their life as a burden both for themselves and for their loved ones,” he explained.

For Pope Francis, the spread of this mentality leads to a “culture of death” where people are seen as “‘not yet useful’ – like the unborn; or as ‘no longer needed’ – like the elderly.”

“The unborn with disabilities are aborted, and the elderly close to the end are administered an ‘easy death,’ euthanasia, a euthanasia in disguise, but euthanasia all the same,” emphasized the Pontiff.

Don’t make illness a taboo

Addressing the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the 87-year-old Pontiff said that the theme of their work – suffering and illness – was “close to [his] heart.”

“Suffering and sickness are adversaries to be confronted, but it is important to do so in a way worthy of mankind, in a human way,” he said.

“To remove them, to reduce them to taboos of which it is best not to speak, perhaps because they damage an image of efficiency at all costs, useful to sell and to earn, is certainly not the solution,” he warned.

Throughout his address, the Pontiff expressed the hope that people confronted with suffering and illness would be able live through the trial “in relationship, without turning in on ourselves and without legitimate rebellion turning into isolation, abandonment or despair.”

On April 8, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith published a declaration approved by the Pope that defended human dignity unconditionally. It included a list of “grave violations of human dignity,” including abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and gender theory.

Tags:
DisabilitiesPope FrancisPro-lifeVatican
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