Jesus deeply loves each one of us. Each and every one of us is a unique and unrepeatable child of God. Nothing we ‘do’ or ‘achieve’, gives us this dignity and worth. It is part of who we are and how we have been created. The understanding that every life is precious and sacred—that each person is made in the ‘image of God’ and has inherent worth and dignity—is central to our faith.
The Church seeks to welcome all people into a rich, meaningful experience of the Christian life, regardless of any physical abilities. We are committed to working towards a more just society, in which people with disabilities are free to make their own decisions about their own needs, and where their unique contributions to the life of the community are valued and respected.
In this spirit, the Church seeks to make the sacraments accessible to people with disabilities and to ensure the process of Christian initiation is appropriate to their needs and circumstances. Recent Church guidelines affirm that ‘People with disabilities are called to the fullness of sacramental life … The sacraments are gifts of God and the liturgy, which even before being understood rationally, ask to be lived: therefore, no one can deny the sacraments to people with disabilities’ (Directory for Catechesis, 2020).
The Australian Catholic Disability Council has produced a number of useful resources for parishes on issues surrounding disability and inclusivity, including a pastoral document for parishes, and guidelines for the celebration of the sacraments with people with disability.