in Pennsylvania's First Congressional District's_1st_congressional_district
and the Central Garden State

Saturday, November 16, 2013

35th Anniversary of the U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Statement on People with Disabilities

Today, marks the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Statement on People with Disabilities:
    "Concern for people with disabilities was one of the prominent notes of Jesus' earthly ministry. When asked by John's disciples, 'Are you He who is to come or do we look for another?' Jesus responded with words recalling the prophecies of Isaiah 'Go back and report to John what you hear and see; the blind recover their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, dead men are raised to life, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.' (Mt. 11:3-5) Persons with disabilities become witnesses for Christ, His healing of their bodies a sign of the spiritual healing He brought to all people. 'Which is less trouble to say, ''Your sins are forgiven'' or ''Stand up and walk?'' To help you realize that the Son has authority on earth to forgive sins' -- He then said to the paralyzed man -- 'Stand up! Roll up your mat and go home' (Mt. 9:5f)....
    "All too often, abortion and postnatal neglect are promoted by arguing that the infant will survive only to suffer a life of pain and deprivation. We find this reasoning appalling....
    "It is not enough merely to affirm the rights of people with disabilities. We must actively work to make them real in the fabric of modern society....
    "Accessibility involves far more than physical alterations to parish buildings. Realistic provision must be made for persons with disabilities to participate fully in the Eucharist and other liturgical celebrations such as the sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick. The experiences and needs of individuals with disabilities vary, as do those of any group of people. For some with significant disabilities, special liturgies may be appropriate. Other will not require such liturgies, but will benefit if certain equipment and services are made available to them. Celebrating liturgies simultaneously in sign language enables the deaf person to enter more deeply into their spirit and meaning. Participation aids such as Mass books and hymnals in large print or Braille serve the same purpose for blind or partially sighted members."
Thirty-five years later, we indeed find "appalling" arguments for both abortion and euthanasia, attempting to justify crimes against humanity with outrageous claims that people are being saved from lives of "pain and deprivation."
  • "legal protections have not always brought with them the anticipated acceptance of having a child with disabilities.

  • "A study we published in 2009 reveals a staggering 25 percent decline in Down syndrome birthrates nationwide after the first President Bush signed the ADA [i.e., Americans with Disabilities Act] into law....about 15 fewer children per 100,000 were born with Down syndrome in the years after the law was passed....Why would fewer children be brought into the world just as they are being afforded greater opportunities in life?....

    "The weight of empirical evidence makes clear the need for stronger efforts to offset the distorted public understandings of people with disabilities that persist" (Dov Fox and Christopher L. Griffin Jr., Greater Disability Protection Doesn't Mean Less Selective Abortion, 3/5/13).
  • "Disability rights activists are among the most implacable and effective opponents of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia. In the USA, Not Dead Yet’s entry into the fray after the passage of Measure 16 in Oregon (1994), helped slow the advance of the killing agenda to a crawl....Not Dead Yet UK is exposing the sham of...Disability Activists for Dignity in Dying (DiD). From, “False Claims,” by Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick:...
  • "DiD are promoting themselves as a caring organisation who offer the "voice of reason". They are using  a handful of non-representative disabled people to promote the idea that disabled people agree with them. The facts do not support this assertion, real disabled activists are opposed to the law being changed and nothing I have read, seen or heard makes me think otherwise.
    "So again, I find myself asking: what is their real purpose?
    "Answer: To sow confusion among disability-friendly people toward the end that a law be passed that will result in the euthanasia/assisted suicide abandonment deaths of people with disabilities" (Wesley Smith, Phony “Disability Rights” Pro-Euthanasia Scam, 10/29/13).

  • "A heated debate on proposals to legalise euthanasia for minors in Belgium intensified this week....In an open letter to politicians, 16 paediatricians said that under-18s were capable of making mature, thoughtful decisions about death....Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders also responded to the proposal. 'We express our deep concern at the risk that such a grave subject will be increasingly trivialised,' they said. 'The euthanasia of fragile people, be they children or incapable [sic], is totally inconsistent with their condition as human beings. We cannot accept a logic which will lead to the destruction of society’s foundations'" (Michael Cook, Belgium: Debate Continues on Bill to Legalize Euthanasia for Disabled Children, 11/11/13).

Recalling the U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Statement on People with Disabilities, our embrace of people with disabilities should be clear, bold, and loud.  Sadly, this does not always seem to be the case.  For example, though the bishops spoke in 1978 of "Celebrating liturgies simultaneously in sign language," there are no known locations in Bucks where a Catholic priest celebrates Mass using sign language.  Twice per month, however, there are sign language interpreted Sunday Masses in Warrington.  Each Sunday, there is also a sign language interpreted Mass in nearby Hamilton, New Jersey.
    Archdiocese of Philadelphia MASS CELEBRATED IN SIGN LANGUAGE
  • 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays- 12:15 PM Our Lady of Ransom Chapel, Phila.
  • 2nd Sundays - 10:30 AM St. Charles Church , Drexel Hill, PA
  • 3rd Sundays - 10:30 AM Sts. Peter and Paul, West Chester
  • 4th Sundays - 11:30 AM St. Stanislaus Chapel, Lansdale, PA
    Archdiocese of Philadelphia MASS INTERPRETED INTO SIGN LANGUAGE
  • Every Sunday- 9:30 AM St. Pius X, Broomall, PA
  • 2nd and 4th Sundays - 11 AM Our Lady of Ransom Church, Phila.
  • 2nd and 4th Sunday - 9:30 am St. Francis Assisi , Norristown
  • 1st and 3rd Sundays - 10:00 AM St. Joseph Church, Warrington
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sundays - 9:00 AM St. Stanislaus, Lansdale
  • 1st Sundays - 11:30 AM St. Norbert, Paoli (11 AM-July, August)
  • 2nd and 4th Sundays - 11:00 AM Epiphany of Our Lord, South Phila.
  • 2nd and 4th Sundays - 9:00 AM St. Thomas of Villanova, Rosemont
  • 4th Sundays - 11:30 AM St. Denis, Havertown
  • 2nd Sunday - 10:30 AM Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Doylestown

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