Pope Francis during a Synodal meeting with persons with disabilities Pope Francis during a Synodal meeting with persons with disabilities 

Pope: We are all part of the same vulnerable humanity

In his message for the International Day of Persons With Disabilities, Pope Francis evokes a magisterium of fragility, symbolyzing a new awareness that “happiness is bread that is not eaten alone”

By Edoardo Giribaldi

“The International Day of Persons with Disabilities invites us to recognize that our frailty in no way obscures ‘the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ,’” Pope Francis wrote in his message that celebrates the global recurrence. Established on December 3, 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities theme for this year will touch on innovation and transformative solutions for inclusive development.

Pope Francis began his message by recognizing the holistic power of God’s word. “Everyone, apart from any merit or distinction, has received the Gospel in its entirety and, with this, the joyful task of proclaiming it.” Quoting his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, the Pope underlined the call for everyone to “offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us His closeness, His word and His strength, and gives meaning to our lives.”

Faith, and the experience of God’s love, are not a prerogative only of a restricted group of people. Rather, Pope Francis affirmed how God’s mercy “makes itself known in a particular way to those who, instead of trusting in themselves, feel called to abandon themselves to the Lord and to empathize with their brothers and sisters.” This would result in a new sense of wisdom, capable of making us appreciate “all the more God’s loving decision to help us in our weakness.”

A Magesterium of fragility

Once this new awareness is acquired, we can speak of what the Pope calls “a magisterium of fragility,” which would make our society “more humane and fraternal, enabling all of us to understand that happiness is bread that is not eaten alone.”

Pope Francis invited people to “be mindful of the sufferings of all those women and men with disabilities who live in the midst of war, or have been themselves disabled as a result of warfare.” He called for special attention toward them, specifically their access to humanitarian aid, which should be “facilitated in every possible way.”

The Magisterium of fragility becomes, according to the Pope, a way to enrich the Church. “Without vulnerability, without limits, without obstacles to overcome, there would be no true humanity.” This theme can also be found in the preparatory document for the continental stage of the Synod, which points to the lack of solidarity toward people with disabilities and calls for “new ways of welcoming their contribution and promoting their participation.”

Encounter and fraternity

Pope Francis noted how the Synod “can help us understand how in the Church – also with regard to the disabled – there can be no us and them, but a single us.” A new awareness, founded “on the fact that we are all part of the same vulnerable humanity assumed and sanctified by Christ.”

The key words indicated by the Pope to overcome discrimination are “encounter and fraternity.” His words reside in the hope that “every Christian community will be open to the presence of our brothers and sisters with disabilities, and ensure that they are always welcomed and fully included.”

Pope Francis concluded his message by insisting on the fact that nothing “can detract from our certainty that no disability temporary, acquired or permanent – can change the fact that we are all children of the one Father and enjoy the same dignity. The Lord loves us all with the same tender, fatherly and unconditional love.”

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03 December 2022, 11:58