People with disabilities must be offered sacraments: Pope

Pope Francis kisses Peter Lombardi of Ohio, who has Down syndrome, after the boy rode in the popemobile during his general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican in 2018 (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

People with disabilities must have access to the sacraments and the ability to be full and active participants in the life of their Catholic parish, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: CNA.

“Before all else, I strongly reaffirm the right of persons with disabilities to receive the sacraments, like all other members of the Church,” he said in a message for yesterday’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

“All liturgical celebrations in the parish should be accessible” to the disabled, he continued, “so that, together with their brothers and sisters, each of them can deepen, celebrate, and live their faith.”

“I reiterate the need to make available suitable and accessible means for handing on the faith,” he said. “No one should be excluded from the grace of these sacraments.”

Francis emphasised that, by virtue of their baptism, people with disabilities are called to missionary discipleship just as much as every other baptised person. He encouraged parishes to include them not only as “recipients” of pastoral ministry, but also as “active subjects”.

“All the baptised, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelisation,” he said, quoting his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.

Though it takes effort to fully include everyone, according to their own gifts and talents, the Pope said, “the active participation of people with disabilities in the work of catechesis can greatly enrich the life of the whole parish”.


Pope Francis: Disabled people must have access to the sacraments, Catholic parish life (By Hannah Brockhaus, CNA)


Pope: Make your heart accessible to people with disabilities (CNS)

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