Pope slams culture of ‘perfect’ people shunning disabled

Pope Francis has decried the obsession with perfect bodies, saying it leads society to hide the disabled to avoid offending the privileged.

In a homily at a Mass at St Peter’s Square on Sunday for the Jubilee of the Sick and Disabled, the Pope called for mutual solidarity and acceptance.

Francis criticised the modern “objections” raised “to a life characterised by serious physical limitations”.

“It is thought that sick or disabled persons cannot be happy, since they cannot live the lifestyle held up by the culture of pleasure and entertainment,” the Pope said.

“In an age when care for one’s body has become an obsession and a big business, anything imperfect has to be hidden away, since it threatens the happiness and serenity of the privileged few and endangers the dominant model,” Francis continued.

“Such persons should best be kept apart, in some ‘enclosure’ – even a gilded one – or in ‘islands’ of pietism or social welfare, so that they do not hold back the pace of a false well-being,” the Pope added.

“In some cases, we are even told that it is better to eliminate them as soon as possible, because they become an unacceptable economic burden in time of crisis.”

Francis said that when people shut their eyes in the face of sickness and disability, they fail to understand the real meaning of life which “has to do with accepting suffering and limitation”.

“The world does not become better because only apparently ‘perfect’ people live there – I say ‘perfect’ rather than ‘false’ – but when human solidarity, mutual acceptance and respect increase.”

“The happiness that everyone desires,” the Pope added, can only be “attained only if we are capable of loving”.

“It is always a matter of love; there is no other path.”

The Jubilee for the Sick and Persons with Disabilities, which ran from June 10-12, was part of the Year of Mercy.

For the first time in a papal Mass in St Peter’s Square, on Sunday the Gospel was dramatised by a group of intellectually disabled persons.

This was so the text could be understood by pilgrims with mental disabilities, the Vatican announced.

At the Mass, people with disabilities did various liturgical roles.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , , ,