All posts tagged: disability

Disability Debunks the Late Modern Myth of Radical Autonomy

Ontological poverty is a fancy term for a basic reality: every finite being, including each one of us, is a creature. We do not independently possess the “means” to begin to exist or to continue in existence. We are constantly and utterly dependent on God’s creating and conserving power to sustain us.  This is the most fundamental truth about us, the first truth professed in our creed.  I’d like to argue today that it is also the lens through which our response to all forms of poverty must be viewed. In light of this truth, the “poor” can never be the simply “other”—we are all poor. And poverty itself is not something to be eradicated: it is our existential condition—we cannot eradicate it without eradicating ourselves.[1] This insight is lost once people buy into late modern assumptions about our ability to overcome the limitations inherent to our state as finite beings. Under the influence of what Jacques Maritain calls “demiurgic imperialism,” we lose any sense of the givenness of the world or ourselves and fall …

Disability and Inclusion in the Archdiocese of Chicago: Assessing Full Participation within Places of Worship

Introduction “For my house shall be a house of prayer for all people.” (Is 56:7) In July of 2015 communities around the United States commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law, signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, was enacted to “prohibit discrimination and guarantee that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life.”[1] Since its passage doors have been opened to improve opportunities for employment, access, and overall quality of life for individuals living with disabilities. Actions taken by governments and private businesses have made the world more accessible, allowing greater participation for all in everyday life. Religious entities and areas of worship are exempted from the ADA, but the spirit and message of inclusion still morally applies. Twelve years prior to this historic legislation, in 1978, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the Pastoral Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities in order “to promote accessibility of mind and heart, so that …

The Call to Follow Christ: St. John Paul II on Disability

It is a great joy for me to be able to begin speaking to you in such a beautiful way: brothers and sisters. Indeed all of us are children of the same Father, beloved and redeemed by God through Christ. Because of this, no one should be considered unknown or strangers to one another even though this is our first meeting together. From the depths of my heart I greet all of you who have gathered here at this cathedral to pray with me the old and familiar prayer, the Angelus. At this noontime, our faith community embraces you. But our prayers not only embrace you, but also the many men [and women] in Germany who live out their lives with physical disabilities and whose faith-filled spirits are united with ours in prayer and through the television or radio. To them [1] also, I want to greet you as brothers and sisters. You, who are in your houses, alone or in the company of your families and friends, or in a nursing home in which you …