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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

38th Anniversary of Pastoral on People with Disabilities

November 18th marks the 38th 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....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-eight years later, we too find "appalling" the many hideous arguments for abortion and euthanasia, attempting to justify crimes against humanity with outrageous claims that people are being saved from lives of "pain and deprivation."  Against these voices of death, our embrace of people with disabilities should be clear, bold, and loud.

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