Monsignor Charles Pope’s blogs are full of Christ’s wisdom about the most pressing subjects in modern life and his latest “Accepting Disability in a World Obsessed with Perfection” is no exception.
This blog is in response to Pope Francis’ comments while meeting with a group of disabled individuals, that “Love, not some idea of perfection, leads to Happiness.“
“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,” the Pope said. “In some cases, we are even told that it is better to eliminate them as soon as possible, because they become an unacceptable economic burden in time of crisis.”
People with such attitudes, he said, “fail to understand the real meaning of life, which also has to do with accepting suffering and limitations.”
And for Jesus, he said, the sick and the weak, those cast aside by society — like the woman in the Gospel story — are precisely the ones he loves most.
The only path to happiness is love, Pope Francis said. “How many disabled and suffering persons open their hearts to life again as soon as they realize they are loved! How much love can well up in a heart simply with a smile!”
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Monsignor Pope then asks: Is there such a thing as a life not worth living?
Many in our culture seem to believe that there is. There has arisen the tragically ironic idea that death is a form of therapy, that an appropriate treatment for disabled unborn children is to kill them.
Of course death is neither a treatment nor a therapy; it cannot be considered an acceptable solution for the one who loses his or her life. Yet this is often the advice that parents in this situation are given.
All of this “advice” and pressure goes a long way toward explaining why more than 90% of unborn children with a poor prenatal diagnosis are aborted. We cannot remain silent in the face of this; we must reach out compassionately to families experiencing such a crisis.
Many of them are devastated by the news that their baby may have serious disabilities. Often they descend into shock and are overwhelmed by fear, conflicting feelings, and even anger towards God or others. Sometimes the greatest gifts we can give them are time, information, and the framework of faith.
I just finished reading the book Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck, by Adam Cohen.
In the early 1900’s , in the wake of Darwin’s theory of evolution, a wave of what came to be called Social Darwinism gave birth the ideology of eugenics, the idea that some humans were genetically superior to others and we ought to suppress the birth or end the lives of the inferior.
Eugenics pervaded society and inspired Margaret Sanger to champion birth control for the ‘inferior races’ and disabled whom she called “human weeds.”
The Supreme Court codified this horrible idea in the infamous 1927 Buck V Bell decision. In the 8-1 decision, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes approved of the sterilization of those the state deemed ‘feebleminded, saying, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough!”
As bioethicist Wesley J. Smith has written, “Eugenics lost its popular attraction after the Nazis took our eugenic laws and really turned them into a culture of death.” But has it?
We congratulate ourselves on having progressed since then; yet we have merely shifted the ‘responsibility’ of killing those deemed “inferior” to their mothers.
I interviewed many mothers of special needs children for my book, A Special Mother is Born. Some women claimed the pressure to abort from their doctors was so great, they even tried to make them feel guilty about “imposing” a disabled sibling on their children.
All of these moms said they can’t imagine life without the love of their child.
LifeNews Note: Leticia Velasquez is the Co-founder of KIDS (Keep Infants with Down Syndrome).