Handicapped people are 'God's special friends', says Cardinal on US tour
GREATER efforts should be made to integrate the handicapped into the life of the Church, said Cardinal Hume during his American tour.
The Cardinal was addressing handicapped people at Cathedral College, New York archdiocesan preparatory seminary. "Every human being is handicapped in some way: physically, mentally, psychologically, socially and morally" said the Cardinal. "The courage of visibly handicapped people is often a great inspiration to us who carry our handicaps."
Cardinal Hume called the handicapped "God's special friends", and said the chronically ill and disabled "have been called to a special vocation: to share more closely in the passion of Our Lord."
The Cardinal said hc hoped that in 1981, designated the International Year of Handicapped . Persons, there would be "a universal reappraisal of our approach to people with handicaps and universal effort to integrate them in practical ways with the rest of the worshipping community."
' He pointed out that true ministry to the handicapped involved more than equipping churches with access ramps, wide doorways and special toilet facilities.
"Such practical details need attention, as well as the more theoretical ideas and less tangible ones of improved realisation and understanding on the part of nonhandicapped members of the Church" said the Cardinal.
Stating that the handicapped are "full members of the Church", he said that those who administered the sacraments "must search for the best ways to enable disabled persons to enjoy their rights as Catholics."
Cardinal Hume noted that medical technology had made it possible to determine whether a foetus was likely to be born with a handicap, but he condemned those who suggested that abortions be performed in such cases because the children "would be better off dead" "Alongside those admirable and devoted people who care for our handicapped citizens" he said, "there are others who vociferously advocate killing the unborn to save them from a life of handicap. This is wrong."
In the question period after the lecture, the Cardinal said he found it "difficult theologically" to agree with the ordination of women, pointing to the importance of scripture as the source of theology. But he pointed to the need for an increasing role of women in the Church.
Cardinal Hume has been in America since May 29 to aid celebrations for the 1,500th anniversary of the birth of St. Benedict. His schedule includes