On Saturday, Pope Francis issued a harsh condemnation of the underlying eugenic mentality in society that leads many to abort children who are are disabled, saying the Church must be a place of acceptance and welcome for all who are vulnerable.
While great strides have been made in recent years in terms of recognizing the dignity of every person, especially the weakest and most vulnerable, “at the cultural level there are still expressions that undermine the dignity of these people due to the prevalence of a false conception of life,” the Pope said Oct. 21.
“An often narcissistic and utilitarian vision unfortunately leads not a few to consider people with disabilities as marginal, without perceiving in them the multifaceted human and spiritual wealth,” he said.
Far too prevalent in common thought is also “an attitude of rejection” toward people with disabilities, as if their handicap “impedes them from being happy and fully realizing themselves,” he said.
“This is proven by the eugenic tendency to suppress the unborn who have some form of imperfection.”
An example of this “eugenics” mentality is a recent article in CBS News claiming that Iceland has come close to being the first country to “eradicate” Down syndrome, meaning they are aborting every unborn child found to have the condition.
Pope Francis offered his comments to participants in a Vatican-sponsored conference dedicated to catechesis for those with intellectual disabilities, titled “Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church.”
Taking place Oct. 20-22 at the Pontifical Urbanianum University in Rome, the conference drew over 420 people who work in catechesis from professions and countries all over the world, as well as people with disabilities themselves.
Among the participants is Bridget Brown, a young actress, speaker and prolife advocate with Down syndrome. In a letter written to the Pope, Brown said her heart breaks to think that “I might be the last generation of people with Down syndrome.”
“The world will never again benefit from our gifts,” she said, explaining that she does not “suffer” from the condition, but is “filled with joy” to be alive.
In his speech, Pope Francis said the response to this “eugenic tendency” must be one of love. “Not the false, clever and pious kind,” he said, “but the one that is true, concrete and respectful.”
Full story at Catholic News Agency.