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The Gift of Peace, Christians with Impairments, and the Church

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2021

Marc Tumeinski*
Affiliation:
Anna Maria College

Abstract

One of the demands facing the church is the call for unity with Christians with profound intellectual and physical impairments. As the church becomes a community of justice with and for people with impairments, she is an instrument of God's shalom. However, too many of our sisters and brothers with impairments find themselves on the outside looking in. How can the church continue to move toward a more complete welcome and participation? Responding to this theological question precedes clinical or legal concerns. The best the world has to offer is not what the church needs, though she can learn from reasonable professional approaches. The message and peace of Christ can undo the walls of separation that keep Christians with impairments out. Such a transformation would be a sign that the church is being built up in peace, and would offer a model of true communion among a diversity of people.

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Articles
Information
Horizons , Volume 48 , Issue 1 , June 2021 , pp. 122 - 154
Copyright
Copyright © College Theology Society, 2021

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References

1 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish, 1993 edition, Introduction, https://www.usccb.org/resources/communities-salt-and-light-reflections-social-mission-parish.

2 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities, Revised Edition, 2017 edition, 1, https://www.usccb.org/about/divine-worship/policies/upload/Guidelines-for-the-Celebration-of-the-Sacraments-with-Persons-with-Disabilities-Revised-Edition.pdf.

3 See John Paul II, “Homily at the Jubilee of the Disabled” (December 3, 2000), §5. http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/homilies/2000/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20001203_jubildisabled.pdf.

4 Little stresses the importance of active participation in parish communities. Little, Brent, “A Charity of Mutuality and Hospitality: L'Arche's Witness to Catholic Theology,” Horizons 47, no. 1 (2020): 4668CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 49.

5 We may consider the nature of the parish as “the heart of our Church … the place where God's people meet Jesus in word and sacrament and come in touch with the source of the Church's life” (Communities of Salt and Light), and furthermore as a communality that recognizes the realities of human vulnerability and impairment.

6 John Paul II, “Message of John Paul II on the Occasion of the International Symposium on the Dignity and Rights of the Mentally Disabled Person,” (January 5, 2004), http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/speeches/2004/january/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20040108_handicap-mentale.pdf. This message runs the risk of overspiritualizing impairment, and of treating people with impairments as “angels” rather than as human beings who are good, fallen, and redeemed. Treating those with impairments, even unintentionally, as more like angels or innocent spiritual beings is to reduce their humanity and to potentially hamper their growth in faith and discipleship (e.g., if we think that a person with an intellectual limitation is more like “a little angel,” we may not even understand that they may desire adult romantic relationships or be capable of excelling at a job, or believe that such a person should receive the sacrament of reconciliation or participate in catechesis and faith formation, and so on). See also Deborah Creamer, “Theological Accessibility: The Contribution of Disability,” Disability Studies Quarterly 26, no. 4 (Fall 2006).

7 Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

8 One of the risks in writing (theologically) about people with impairments is to inadvertently create a unidirectional focus on what “we can do to help them.” All of us receive help from God. While offering and receiving help is part of the Christian life, it is not one way only. Charity and justice are relational. See Matthews, Pia, “Being Disabled and Disability Theology: Insights from and for Catholic Social Teaching,” Journal of Catholic Social Thought 16, no. 2 (2019): 295317CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 301–02; Gaventa, William, Disability and Spirituality: Recovering Wholeness (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2018), xviixviiiGoogle Scholar.

9 Such worldly approaches include those that are rooted primarily in medicine, psychology, sociology, or the law, as helpful as these tools may be under the right circumstances. The conceptual framework and accompanying language surrounding the reality of human limitation broadly understood is complex and has a long and evolving history. For the sake of simplicity, the term “impairment” will be used throughout to refer to problems in the functioning of body or mind (as described for example by the World Health Organization). Distinctions between the terms “impairment” and “disability,” and preferences for one term over the other or for another term entirely, are important, though they raise complicated arguments that would expand this paper unnecessarily and perhaps overshadow the focus of this inquiry. The usage and definitions of these terms (impairment, disability) also varies within distinct fields, such as medicine, law, human resources, and so on. The limited focus of this article also means setting aside important considerations such as societal patterns and barriers related to impairment, how and when an impairment was manifested, links between impairment and vulnerability, and so on.

10 In On the Service of Charity (November 11, 2012), Pope Benedict noted that “the Church's charitable activity at all levels must avoid the risk of becoming just another form of organized social assistance.” See Tumeinski, Marc, “Hurting or Helping: A Catholic Ethical Analysis of the Practice of Physical and Mechanical Restraints by Human Services,” Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly 41, no. 4 (Winter 2019): 435–48Google Scholar. Miguel Romero rightly points out that “a theological problem arises when Christian theologians uncritically presume or attribute comprehensiveness to the social model's way of framing and guiding theoretical discourse on disability.” See Romero, Miguel, “The Goodness and Beauty of Our Fragile Flesh: Moral Theologians and our Engagement with ‘Disability,’Journal of Moral Theology 6, no. 2 (September 2017): 206–53Google Scholar, at 224.

11 One risk is that parishes will fall into the presumption that active participation of people with impairments is dependent upon specialized knowledge, supports, techniques, and so on. On the topic of scarcity, see Amy Jacober, “Hesed: How Youth Ministry with Teens with Disabilities Helps Restore an Abundant Community” (paper presented at the Association of Youth Ministry Educators Conference, Dallas, TX, October 28–30, 2017), https://www.aymeducators.org/wp-content/uploads/Amy-Jacober-Hesed-YMin-for-AYME-2017-with-watermark.pdf.

12 “Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to Participants in the Conference Organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization,” October 21, 2017, http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2017/october/documents/papa-francesco_20171021_convegno-pcpne.pdf.

13 Francis, “Address to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization,” 2017.

14 “Moreover, let us take care, especially we ministers of Christ's grace, not to fall prey to the neo-Pelagian mistake of failing to recognize the need for the strength of grace that comes from the Sacraments of Christian initiation. Let us learn to overcome the discomfort and fear that at times we can feel toward persons with disabilities. Let us learn to seek and also to intelligently “invent” appropriate tools so that no one lacks the support of grace. Let us form—first of all by example!—catechists ever more able to accompany these persons so they may grow in faith and give their genuine and original contribution to the life of the Church. Lastly, I hope that in the community, more and more, people with disabilities may be their own catechists, by their witness too, so as to pass on the faith in a more effective way.” Francis, “Address to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization,” 2017.

15 This topic raises questions of resource allocation. To what extent can a single parish be responsible for responding to the many and varied needs of parishioners with impairments? Is this not the legitimate function of societal resources? And so on. These are complex discussions worth having, though the focus of this article is on the theological and moral implications of parishes seeking to live up to their nature and identity. For a helpful reflection on this question from the specific perspective of the responsibility to care for one's elders, see Zola, Charles, “Prudential Elder Care: A Thomistic Approach,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 87, no. 1 (Winter 2013): 139–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar. While recognizing the significance of pastoral as well as prudential implications, these are not the primary focus of this article.

16 “The starting point for every reflection on disability is rooted in the fundamental convictions of Christian anthropology: even when disabled persons are mentally impaired or when their sensory or intellectual capacity is damaged, they are fully human beings and possess the sacred and inalienable rights that belong to every human creature.” John Paul II, “Message on the Occasion of the International Symposium on the Dignity and Rights of the Mentally Disabled Person,” 2004.

17 Romero, “The Goodness and Beauty of Our Fragile Flesh,” 250. On the same page, Romero further notes that “Integral creaturely goodness and proportionate harmony is not in conflict with the various ways the human body is vulnerable to defect and infirmity. Rather, it is through the innate vulnerabilities and coordinate dependencies of the human body that the specific goodness and beauty of the human body is manifest.”

18 See Reynolds, Thomas E., Vulnerable Communion (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2008), chap. 3Google Scholar.

19 Jacober, “Hesed.”

20 Cooreman-Guittin, Talitha, “Growing in Humanity: On Vulnerability, Capacitation, and Encounter in Religious Education: A Christian Practical Theological Approach,” Religious Education 114, no. 2 (2019): 143–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

21 Wolfensberger describes the concept of heightened vulnerability, meaning that people with impairments are more vulnerable to adverse (social and societal) circumstances, which are then more likely to cause hurt, and furthermore for that hurt to cause more extensive harm to the person. Wolfensberger, Wolf, A Brief Introduction to Social Role Valorization: A High-Order Concept for Addressing the Plight of Societally Devalued People, and for Structuring Human Services, 3rd ed. (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Training Institute for Human Service Planning, Leadership and Change Agentry, 1998), 124–25Google Scholar. See Kearney, Timothy, “The Transforming Power of Vulnerability,” Irish Theological Quarterly 78, no. 3 (August 2013): 244–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Diana Ventura, “The Unheard Voices of People with Disabilities: Practical Theology in Conversation with the Spiritualities of Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila” (PhD diss., Boston University, 2014), https://open.bu.edu/handle/2144/16325.

22 Brent Little writes about L'Arche as “a community built on shared vulnerability and impoverishment.” See Little, “A Charity of Mutuality and Hospitality,” 59.

23 See Greig, Jason Reimer, “Shalom Made Strange: A Peace Church Theology for and with People with Intellectual Disabilities,” The Conrad Grebel Review 32, no. 1 (Winter 2014)Google Scholar.

24 The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, §§ 212–213, notes that family is essential both to the individual and to society; 2004 edition, http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html.

25 O'Halloran, James, Small Christian Communities (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996), 17, 124–29Google Scholar.

26 See Congregation for the Clergy, General Directory for Catechesis (The Holy See, 1997), §§69, 70, 84, 86, 87, 89, 91, 106, 143, 158, 159; 1997 edition, http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cclergy/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc_17041998_directory-for-catechesis_en.html. See also Joseph Ratzinger, The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993), 67.

27 See, for example, report 3 (“Participation in Catholic Parish Life: Religious Rites and Parish Activities in the 1980s”), report 10 (“The Parish as Community”), and report 15 (“Post Vatican II Parish Life in the United States: Review and Preview”) of the Notre Dame Study of Catholic Parish Life, Church Life Research Initiative, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN.

28 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, §150.

29 This point is illustrated by the account related in the article by Kevin Jones, “‘Heart of Hospitality’ Best Way for Catholic Parishes to Serve the Disabled,” Catholic News Agency, March 5, 2020.

30 Jonathon Holland, Patrick Gilger, SJ, and Thomas P. Gaunt, SJ, “Disabilities in Parishes Across the United States: How Parishes in the United States Accommodate and Serve People with Disabilities” (Washington, DC: Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate Georgetown University, Summer 2016).

31 “Affirmation of Pastoral Statement of US Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities. A Resolution Issued by the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) on the 40th Anniversary of the Pastoral Statement” (no date), https://ncpd.org/files/resources-toolkits/Affirmation_of_and_Commitment_to_the_Call_of_the_1978_Pastoral_Statement_of_U.S._Catholic_Bishops_on_Persons_with_Disabilities_.pdf.

32 Congregation for the Clergy, General Directory for Catechesis, §§ 253, 254, 257.

33 Message of the Holy Father Francis for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3, 2019), http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/pont-messages/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20191203_messaggio-disabilita.pdf.

34 Pastoral Statement of the US Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities (US Catholic Conference, 1978), 12, https://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/upload/Pastoral-Statement-of-U-S-Catholic-Bishops-on-Persons-with-Disabilities.pdf. I am not comfortable necessarily with the language of suffering in this particular context, but the point stands. See also Dawn DeVries, “Creation, Handicappism, and the Community of Differing Abilities,” in Reconstructing Christian Theology, edited by Rebecca Chopp and Mark Lewis Taylor (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994): 124–140, at 124–125.

35 Brief anecdotes are shared occasionally in this article to “put flesh on” and to personalize some of the points.

36 Katie Bahr, “Real Presence: What Catholics with Developmental Disabilities Bring to the Table: Catholic Churches Strive to Welcome those with Developmental Disabilities through Special Ministries and a Change in Attitude” US Catholic 78, no. 12 (December 2013): 12–17.

37 Bahr, “Real Presence.”

38 The Theological Voice of Wolf Wolfensberger, eds. William Gaventa and David Coulter (New York: Haworth Pastoral Press, 2001), 111–26, at 116.

39 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), November 21, 1964, §1, https://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html.

40 This point is not in any way meant to overstate vulnerability nor to imply inherent weakness or some kind of failing in people who have impairments. All of us, because we are creatures not the Creator, and because of the consequences of the Fall, are vulnerable. Rather, this point is meant to recognize the particular vulnerabilities that often accompany the reality of impairment, and perhaps to a significant degree.

41 Augustine of Hippo, The City of God, Book XIX, chapter 13, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf102.iv.XIX.13.html. See also John XXIII, Encyclical Pacem in terris (April 11, 1963), §167. “Peace … is an order that is founded on truth, built up on justice, nurtured and animated by charity, and brought into effect under the auspices of freedom.” See http://www.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_11041963_pacem.pdf.

42 See Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, Q29, A1 and A2; Q183, A2.

43 Joseph Ratzinger, What It Means to Be a Christian, trans. Henry Taylor (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006), 23.

44 Joseph Ratzinger, Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures, trans. Brian McNeil (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006), 101–02.

45 A focus on the shared gift of peace is certainly not the only valid approach to the challenge laid out by the US bishops, of finding our true identity as a church in relation to people with various impairments. Multiple writers have explicitly and implicitly examined various communal approaches to the same question. For example, in relation to Christians with impairments, Reynolds emphasizes the communal nature of the church as: home, a dwelling together with others in God's creation; the household of God called into relationship; and the body of Christ. See Reynolds, Vulnerable Communion, chapters 2 and 7. According to theologian and friend of L'Arche Tom Murphy: “One could say that the highly relational anthropology of L'Arche can only be accessed via the gateway of encounter.” See Tom Murphy, “Learning Compassion through Practices of Encounter in L'Arche” (conference paper, REA Annual Meeting, November 3–5, 2017). I would add that such encounters speak to the shalom nature of the church.

46 Greig, “Shalom Made Strange.”

47 John L. McKenzie, SJ, ed., Dictionary of the Bible (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1965), s.v. “peace.” See also Steven Schwarzschild, “Shalom,” in The Challenges of Shalom: The Jewish Tradition of Peace and Justice, eds. Murray Polner and Naomi Goodman (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1994), 17.

48 John Zizioulas, Being as Communion (London: Dartman, Longman and Todd, 1985 [2004 printing]), 151.

49 Greig, “Shalom Made Strange.” Jean Vanier was the founder of L'Arche and remained with that community until his death in May 2019. In June 2019, the international L'Arche association announced an external inquiry to investigate history of abuse within L'Arche. This investigation looked for evidence of sexual impropriety carried out by Vanier as well as any knowledge Vanier may have had about sexual abuse carried out by his spiritual advisor, Fr. Thomas Philippe, who died in 1993. In February 2020, L'Arche reported that these investigations indicated that Fr. Philippe had sexually abused multiple adult women without any impairments; that Vanier was aware of this; and that Vanier had initiated sexual behavior with multiple adult women, without any impairments, under the guise of spiritual accompaniment. This report bears remembering in any examination of Vanier's life and work. The international L'Arche movement has publicly committed to an ongoing review and examination of its history and its policies. Statements from L'Arche have connected these review efforts to key principles from its guiding documents, such as an emphasis on recognizing the unique dignity of each and every person, and on the importance of mutual relationship and dependence.

This article is based on my paper given at the CTS convention held in May–June 2019, prior to Vanier's death and the subsequent investigations. Although we certainly cannot and should not discount the role that Vanier held within L'Arche from its founding until his death, the principles of L'Arche stand on their own, and can be examined in their own right. See the author's note in Brent Little, “A Charity of Mutuality and Hospitality,” 46–68. More relevant to the topic of this article, however, we should also recognize that the outcomes of the aforementioned investigations highlight the fragility of peace, and the necessity for diligence, principles, and safeguards. Although the reports do not indicate any abuse by Vanier of adults with impairments, vulnerability to abuse is a reality for far too many children and adults with significant impairments. Parishes should be mindful of such vulnerability and act accordingly to protect people and preserve true peace.

50 For the purposes of this paper, this understanding of peace includes those with various vulnerabilities and impairments, though this by no means exhausts the reality of peace given by Christ to the church. Note also that this emphasis on peace can broaden the concept of diversity as typically understood or at least as typically practiced in many (secular) contexts. Rather than limiting diversity to race or ethnicity, for example, the vision of peace noted in the gospels draws all people together.

51 Gaventa, Disability and Spirituality, xix, 283, 284.

52 Kevin Ahern, “Virtue, Vulnerability, and Social Transformation,” College Theology Society Annual Volume 57 (2011): 117–29, at 121–22.

53 Catechism of the Catholic Church, §376, https://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM.

54 John XXIII, Pacem in terris, §§ 35, 37, 45.

55 The vocabulary of peace in the Scriptures is a rich one, including shalom, nuwach, taxis, and eirene, to name several relevant biblical concepts (shalom Strong's H7965; taxis noun Strong's G5010; eirēnē noun Strong's G1515; nuwach verb Strong's H5117).

56 Message from Francis to the participants in the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (April 28–May 2, 2017), https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2017/04/28/170428h.html. See also the Catechism, §814: “From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church's members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life … The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity.”

57 “The way the catholicity of the Church is revealed in the eucharistic community shows that the ultimate essence of catholicity lies in the transcendence of all divisions in Christ. This should be understood absolutely and without any reservations. It covers all areas and all dimensions of existence whether human or cosmic, historical or eschatological, spiritual or material, social or individual, etc.” Zizioulas, Being as Communion, 162.

58 Wolfensberger analyzes a range of social processes that can create a cycle of marginalization. See Wolfensberger, A Brief Introduction to Social Role Valorization, 3–24.

59 Cooreman-Guittin, “Growing in Humanity,” 143–54.

60 John Paul II, “Message on the Occasion of the International Symposium on the Dignity and Rights of the Mentally Disabled Person,” 2004.

61 Greig, “Shalom Made Strange.”

62 Creamer, “Theological Accessibility.”

63 See Mary Jo Iozzio, “Thinking about Disabilities with Justice, Liberation, and Mercy,” Horizons 36, no. 1 (2009): 32–49, at 44–45; Carlson, “Making the Invisible Visible,” 46–73; Center for Applied Research in the Apolstolate, “Disabilities in Parishes Across the United States: How Parishes in the United States Accommodate and Serve People with Disabilities” (special report, summer 2016): 7.

64 David M. Perry, “Pope Francis Needs to Do More than Kiss the Disabled,” Crux (June 14, 2016). https://cruxnow.com/commentary/2016/06/pope-francis-needs-kiss-disabled/.

65 Pastoral Statement of the US Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities, 1978, § 12.

66 In Greek: hypotassō allēlōn en phobos Christos. This verse includes the Greek verb hupotassō, which occurs more than forty times in the New Testament (in Luke, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter). Many of these occurrences relate to communal relationships. Unfortunately, hupotassō has been interpreted as submission to the point of victimhood. This does not reflect the character of its usage in the New Testament, nor a proper understanding of discipleship, baptism, and the nature of the church. Hupotassō does not mean subservience or submitting out of servile fear. Hupotassō is not an invitation to be abused or taken advantage of, nor should it result in inequality or injustice. Rather, it is a humble recognition of our preeminent relationship to God, which then shapes all of our other relationships. Each person is loved by God, no matter what his or her position or standing within the church or community. We are all disciples, freely subject to God's loving will.

67 Strong's Concordance G5021 τάσσω. This verb occurs at least seven times in the New Testament: in Matthew, Acts, Romans, and 1 Corinthians.

68 Although the exploration and application of the biblical concept of hupotassō in this article may be distinct from some existing studies of this concept, it hopefully will prove fruitful for readers. General studies of this concept as it relates to peace and peacemaking may be found in the works of John Howard Yoder, Alain Epp Weaver, and Jamie Pitts, among others.

69 Justin Glyn, “‘Pied Beauty’: The Theological Anthropology of Impairment and Disability in Recent Catholic Theology in Light of Vatican II,” Heythrop Journal 60, no. 4 (July 2019): 571–84, at 580.

70 Pastoral Statement of US Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities.

71 Pastoral Statement of US Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities.

72 John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, §165.

73 Hupotassō (ὑποτάσσω) is a compound Greek verb; Strong's Concordance G5293. In the New Testament, this verb is found in Luke, several Pauline letters (including Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Hebrews), James, and Peter. Hupotassō in the middle voice can mean to put oneself under taxis (τάξις): to place oneself under order and structure. The verb tasso τάσσω (Strong's Concordance G5021), meaning to place in a certain order or to arrange, occurs at least seven times in the New Testament: in Matthew, Acts, Romans, and 1 Corinthians. The noun taxis (Strong's Concordance G5010) indicates an arrangement or right ordering, and is used at least eleven times in the New Testament: in Luke, 1 Corinthians, Colossians, and Hebrews. Of these, taxis is used at least seven times in reference to priesthood.

74 See for example Matthews, “Being Disabled and Disability Theology,” 296–97.

75 See Luke 14:7–11.

76 Hannah Brockhaus, “The World Needs to Know that I Don't ‘Suffer’ from Down Syndrome,” Catholic News Agency, October 26, 2017.

78 See Jacober's Hesed conference paper on the necessity of community.

79 2 Cor 5:18–19; Eph 2:13–22.

80 Lk 18:42; Mt 15:21.

82 DeVries, “Creation, Handicappism, and the Community of Differing Abilities,” 134.

83 Cooreman-Guittin, “Growing in Humanity,” 143–54. Note that this is not to diminish the pain and suffering that accompany vulnerability in our fallen world.

84 Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2018), 16. See previous note on L'Arche and the accusations against Vanier.

85 On diversity of vulnerability and impairment, see Iozzio, “Thinking about Disabilities with Justice, Liberation, and Mercy,” 35–36.

86 J. Martin Benton, JD, “Experiencing Belonging in a Welcoming Congregation: A Personal Journey Living with Cerebral Palsy,” National Catholic Partnership on Disability, 2018.

87 The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to catechesis and sacramental preparation aimed at infants and children up to age 12. It was developed by Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi, and is influenced by a Montessori style of education. To learn more about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, see https://www.cgsusa.org/.

88 Benton, “Experiencing Belonging in a Welcoming Congregation.”

89 See Benedict XVI, Encyclical Deus caritas est, 2005, §§31–39, http://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est.html. See Pontifical Council Cor Unum, “The Church for the Salvation of Humanity: Diakonia in some Apostolic Administrations and Sui Iuris Missions in Europe and Asia” (July 2–5, 1998), §1.

90 Strong's G1290 feminine noun diaspora a scattering or dispersion, used in John 7:35, James 1:1, and 1 Peter 1:1. Strong's G1289 verb diaspeirō to scatter, used in Acts 8:1, Acts 8:4, and Acts 11:19.

91 The two elements of diaspora highlighted in this article are not exhaustive of the biblical concept of diaspora, nor are they necessarily the most prominent within theological studies of the topic. Nonetheless, the concept can enrich the conversation around welcome and integration of people with impairments in parishes, dioceses, and the church. Those wishing to study this concept have a rich field to draw upon. Select examples include Benedict XVI, “Interview During the Flight to the Czech Republic (Apostolic Visit)” (The Holy See, September 26, 2009), http://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2009/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20090926_interview.pdf; Joseph Ratzinger and Marcello Pera, Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, trans. Michael Moore (New York: Basic Books, 2007); Jonathan Sacks, “On Creative Minorities,” First Things (January 2014), https://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/01/on-creative-minorities; Luis R. Rivera-Rodriguez, “Reading in Spanish from the Diaspora through Hispanic Eyes,” Theology Today 54, no. 4 (1998): 480–90; Luis R. Rivera-Rodriguez, “Immigration and the Bible: Comments by a Diasporic Theologian,” Perspectivas/Occasional Papers (Fall 2006): 23–36; David W. Kim, “What Shall I Read? How Korean Christians in Diaspora Read the Hebrew Canon,” Studies in World Christianity 18, no. 2 (2012): 116–33; Peter Phillips, “Gaudium et Spes: Programme for the Christian Diaspora,” Journal of Catholic Social Thought 13, no. 2 (2016); David Reimer, “Exile, Diaspora, and Old Testament Theology,” Scottish Bulletin of Old Testament Theology 28, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 3–17; M. Daniel Carroll Rodas, “Reading the Bible through Other Lenses: New Vistas from a Hispanic Diaspora Perspective,” in Global Voices: Reading the Bible in the Majority World, eds. Craig Keener and M. Daniel Carroll Rodas (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2013); Daniel Smith, The Religion of the Landless (Bloomington, IN: Meyer-Stone Books, 1989); Marc Tumeinski, “Sent into Exile: The Divine Call to Practice Diaspora,” The Heythrop Journal 61, no. 1 (January 2020): 70–81.

92 Message of the Holy Father Francis for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 2019.

93 Not necessarily a numerical minority.

94 Acts 8:4.

95 Melanie Kampen, Imagining the Ethics of Diaspora (Waterloo, ON, Canada: Theory Printers, 2013), 3.

96 Jn 15:19, 17:14–16.

97 Consider the scriptural narratives around Abram and Sarai, or Ruth, as examples.

98 In part, we see this in the founding of L'Arche. See also Joseph Ratzinger, Church, Ecumenism, and Politics: New Endeavors in Ecclesiology, trans. Michael Miller, et al. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008), 145; Benedict XVI, “Interview During the Flight to the Czech Republic (Apostolic Visit)” (The Holy See, September 26, 2009), http://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2009/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20090926_interview.pdf; Ratzinger and Pera, Without Roots, 121–22.

99 See Daniel Smith, The Religion of the Landless; Harry Huebner, Echoes of the Word: Theological Ethics as Rhetorical Practice (Kitchener, ON, Canada: Pandora Press, 2005); Daniel Smith-Christopher, “Prayers and Dreams: Power and Diaspora Identities in the Social Setting of the Daniel Tales,” in The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception, eds. John Collins and Peter Flint, vol. 1 (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 269–70; John Howard Yoder, For the Nations: Essays Public and Evangelical (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1997); Daniel Smith-Christopher, A Biblical Theology of Exile (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2002); Daniel C. Barber, On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion, and Secularity (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011); Walter Brueggemann, Cadences of Home: Preaching Among Exiles (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997); Ratzinger and Pera, Without Roots.

100 These represent three indicators of beauty described by Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, Q. 39, A. 8.

101 Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Message to the 41st Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples (August 5, 2020), https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2020/08/17/200817a.pdf.

103 Hauerwas and Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World, 46.

104 Hauerwas and Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World, 37–38. See Murphy, “Learning Compassion through Practices of Encounter in L'Arche,” 6.

105 Hauerwas and Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World, 26. Again, this is not to overly romanticize the reality of vulnerability and impairment, but to respect the gospel message around grace and weakness, for example, in the Beatitudes, many of the parables, Paul's letters.

106 Hauerwas and Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World, 25, 47–48. See Jacober, “Hesed,” 5.3.

107 Mt 17:1–8; Mk 9:2–8; Lk 9:28–36. See also 2 Peter 1:16–18.

108 We may profitably reflect upon Isiah 53:2 in this context.

110 Hauerwas and Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World, 26.

111 See Hauerwas and Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World, 11.

112 John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, 1963, § 45.

113 Hauerwas and Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World, 47–48. See Jacober, “Hesed,” 5.3.

114 Hauerwas and Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World, 25–26.

115 Acts 9:31.

116 John Paul II, “Homily at the Jubilee of the Disabled,” December 3, 2000, 5.

117 Romero, Miguel, “Liberation, Development and Human Advancement: Catholic Social Doctrine in Caritas in Veritate,” Nova et Vetera (English edition) 8, no. 4 (2010): 923–57Google Scholar, at 957.

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