BENEDICT XVI: AT THE CONFERENCE ON HEARING IMPAIRED PEOPLE, "A DIGNITY TO BE RESPECTED"

"The many associations founded to protect and promote the rights of hearing impaired people testify to the existence of an enduring culture marked by prejudice and discrimination. Such attitudes are deplorable and unjustifiable for they are contrary to the respect for the dignity of the hearing impaired and their full social integration", said the Pope today as he received at the Vatican the participants at the 24th International Conference promoted by the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care on the theme "Effata! Deaf people in the life of the Church". Benedict XVI pointed out that "even more remarkable are those initiatives promoted by institutions and associations, in both the ecclesiastical and civil field, inspired by a true and generous solidarity" towards the hearing impaired. In particular, he recalled "the first schools for the religious education and formation of these our brothers and sisters" which "were established in Europe in the eighth century. Since then, charitable works have multiplied in the Church thanks to the contribution of priests, religious men and women and lay people. The aim is to offer deaf people not only an education, but also an integral assistance for their own full development". (continued)

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