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Pope Francis: Message for International Day of People with Disabilities, “let us not forget the many hidden exiles”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

“It is necessary to care for and accompany persons with disabilities in every condition of life, also making use of current technologies but without regarding them as absolute; with strength and tenderness, to take on board situations of marginalization; and to make way alongside them and to ‘anoint’ them with dignity for an active participation in the civil and ecclesial community”. This is the main appeal contained in Pope Francis’ message for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, issued today. “It is a demanding, even tiring journey, which will increasingly contribute to forming consciences capable of recognizing that each one of us is a unique and unrepeatable person”, Pope Francis wrote, urging everyone not to “forget the many ‘hidden exiles’, who live within our homes, our families, our societies”. “I think of people of every age, especially the elderly who, also due to disabilities, are at times considered a burden, a ‘cumbersome presence’, and risk being discarded, of being denied concrete job prospects for the construction of their future”, the Pope pointed out, adding that “we are called to recognize in every person with disabilities, even with complex and grave disabilities, a unique contribution to the common good through his or her own original life story”. “To acknowledge the dignity of each person, well aware that this does not depend on the functionality of the five senses”, the Pope invited: “This conversion is taught by the Gospel”.

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