“Disability, in all its forms, represents a challenge and an opportunity to build together a more inclusive and civil society, where family members, teachers and associations like yours are not left alone but supported “. The Pope said this in the audience at the Italian Autism Foundation.” For this – added the Pontiff – it is necessary to continue to raise awareness on various aspects of disability, breaking down prejudices and promoting the culture of inclusion and belonging, based on the dignity of the person. It is the dignity of all those most fragile and vulnerable men and women, too often marginalized because they are labeled as different or, indeed, useless, but who in reality are a great wealth for society “.
The Pope thanked the foundation because with “research projects and initiatives in favor of the weakest and most disadvantaged, you are making a valid contribution to the fight against the throwaway culture that is so widespread in our society which is too intent on competition and profit. We are victims of this throwaway culture “.
Putting disabled people “at the center” for Pope Francis “means not only breaking down physical barriers, but also ensuring that they can take part in the initiatives of the civil and ecclesial community by giving their contribution”. And “this – he concluded – requires a change of mentality. Great steps have been taken in this direction, but prejudices, inequalities and even discrimination still remain”.
“Soon, in St. Peter’s Square, some people with autism will cook and offer lunch to the poor brothers. This is beautiful”. the Pope said. It is “an initiative that testifies to the style of the Good Samaritan, the style of God” which is “closeness, compassion, tenderness”. For the Pope it is necessary “to put fraternity at the center of the economy, not selfishness, not personal profit”.
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