#IamChurch: “We” not “they” – disability in the life of the Church

Promoted by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, the #IamChurch initiative consists in five videos demonstrating the daily struggles of persons with disabilities who, far from feeling burdensome or “set aside”, provide their own specific contribution within their ecclesial communities. “‘We’ not ‘they’ – disability in the life of the Church” is the title of the fourth video.

By Vatican News staff reporter

The fourth video in the #IamChurch series is a reflection by Australian Jesuit priest, Fr. Justin Glyn S.J., who – starting from his condition of disability – addresses the issue of limits, which belongs to every human being.

Fr. Glyn – who has dealt with similar topics in an issue of Civiltà Cattolica and in numerous other essays – refutes the idea, still too widespread, that disability is a fault.

Rather, he affirms: “Our limitations are not misfortunes or punishments, but are part of the secret of our condition as human beings who, in their own way, share the image of God and together build the Body of Christ.”

It is in this perspective that, when speaking of disability in the life of the Church, it is possible to say – finally – “We” and not “They.”

Active Catholics, not passive recipients

Fr. Glyn’s words show the importance of the reflection of Christians who live this condition themselves, in order to open up a different approach to disability, both on a theological and pastoral level.

Moreover, they help others not to consider those who experience a disability only as passive recipients of the Church’s attention, but to discover a vocation common to every baptized believer.

“We are not called to perfection as individuals. No! We are all called to share in the limited and vulnerable nature that we believe Christ came to share with us.”

Fr. Glyn's vision is aided by a pair of telescopes
Fr. Glyn’s vision is aided by a pair of telescopes

Five video series

#IamChurch is an initiative of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, as part of the “Amoris Laetitia Family” Year. 

It is a journey through five videos, discovering people who are too often victims of the throwaway culture, who testify to a smiling humanity and not at all victimistic: an attractive face of the Church.

Women and men, lay and consecrated, theologians or simple faithful, who show the complexity and richness of the world of disability.

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