In this series of articles concerning catechesis for persons with disabilities, we have been looking to St. Paul who told us that our attitude must be that of Christ (cf. Phil 2:5). In this last article of the series,[i] we will look at a wide variety of disabling conditions that may be affecting adults we catechize or with whom we share a pew at Mass. The key response in every circumstance is continuing, authentic, and heart-felt respect.
Pope Francis says, “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.” He opposes the idea that persons with disabilities “cannot be happy, since they cannot live the lifestyle held up by the culture of pleasure and entertainment.”[ii]
So what does this mean for us on a practical level? Initially, we must remember that a person is a person, no matter the age, condition, or disability. Then we must take into consideration the disability itself, as well as the age of onset and the cause of the disability, and what the future may hold for the person.