Church welcomes people with disabilities in synodal process

Two Vatican dicasteries hold a listening session on the theme “The Church is your home: The contribution of persons with disabilities to the Synod on Synodality,” in order to give people with disabilities a voice in the synodal process.

By Christopher Wells

More than thirty people with sensory, physical, or cognitive disabilities took part in a listening session organized by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life (DLFL) and the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

The listening session aimed at “giving voice” to people with disabilities by launching a true international synodal process dedicated precisely to them.

Overcoming discrimination

During the online event, participants discussed the synod’s fundamental questions – How are we walking with Jesus and our brothers and sisters to proclaim Him? For the future, what is the Spirit asking our Church to grow in our journey with Jesus and with our brothers and sisters to proclaim Him? – in view of producing a document “based on their experiences and knowledge of the world of disability."

The listening session featured testimonies from people with disabilities from Liberia, Ukraine, France, and Morocco, who spoke about the need to overcome discrimination, exclusion, and paternalism.

Protagonists of the Synod

Vatican officials, for their part, shared their hopes for the participation of people with disabilities in the synodal process.

The challenge in the synodal process, said Fr Alexandre Awi Mellow, the Secretary of the DLFL, is “to overcome very prejudice of those who believe that those who have difficulty expressing themselves don’t have a thought of their own, nor anything interesting to communicate.”

Thursday’s event is part of a path for people with disabilities organized by the DLFL that seeks to promote their role as protagonists in the overall synodal process. That path is expected to reach a high point in coming months with an in-person gathering in Rome.

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20 May 2022, 13:25