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Pope Francis: include the disabled in the sacraments, evangelization

June 13, 2016

Addressing a meeting on disabled persons organized by the Italian Episcopal Conference, Pope Francis called for a greater participation of persons with disabilities in the sacramental and missionary life of the Church.

“These brothers and sisters are not only able to live a genuine experience of encounter with Christ, but also to bear witness of this to others,” the Pope said on June 11 in Paul VI Audience Hall.

“Much has been done in the pastoral care of the disabled; it is necessary to continue to move ahead, for instance by better recognizing their apostolic and missionary capacity, and above all the value of their 'presence' as people, as living members of the ecclesial Body,” he continued. In weakness and frailty there are hidden treasures able to renew our Christian communities.”

The Pope also called for a greater inclusion of those with mental disabilities in the Church’s sacramental life.

“It is sad to see that in some cases there remain doubts, resistance and even refusal,” he said. “Often refusal is justified on the grounds that ‘in any case they do not understand,’ or ‘they have no need.’ In reality, this attitude demonstrates a failure to fully understand the meaning of the sacraments themselves, and in practice denies to the disabled the exercise of their divine sonship and full participation in the ecclesial community.”

 
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