Archbishop Chaput: “Accepting A Child With Special Needs Is A Choice Between Courage And Cowardice!”

By: Michelle Bauman -CNA/EWTN news.

“The Character Of A Nation Revealed By 80% Abortion Rate For The Disabled.”

From:  California Catholic Daily

An 80 percent abortion rate of those with disabilities shows the need to restore a fundamental respect for human dignity in America, said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia.

He underscored that the plight of disabled babies highlights “a struggle within the American soul” that will shape the future of the nation.

“These children with disabilities are not a burden; they’re a priceless gift to all of us,” the archbishop said. “They’re a doorway to the real meaning of our humanity.”

Archbishop Chaput delivered the keynote address at the 13th annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life on Jan. 22.

The conference, which was held at Georgetown University, took place one day before the March for Life, at which hundreds of thousands of Americans annually gather in the nation’s capital to protest abortion and show their support for the dignity of all human life.

“Abortion kills a child, it wounds a precious part of a woman’s own dignity and identity, and it steals hope,” the archbishop said. “That’s why it’s wrong. That’s why it needs to end. That’s why we march.”

He warned that without a strong foundation of faith and morals, America becomes “alien and hostile” to its founding ideals. This threat is clearly demonstrated in the country’s treatment of the poor and disabled, which the archbishop said “shows what we really believe about human dignity.”

In his talk, Archbishop Chaput focused on children with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects development, appearance and cognitive function, and can cause other health problems.

He observed that prenatal testing is now able to detect up to 95 percent of pregnancies that have a strong risk of Down syndrome, and more than 80 percent of the unborn babies who are diagnosed with the disorder are aborted.

These babies are killed because of a flaw in their chromosomes that is “neither fatal nor contagious, but merely undesirable,” he said.

The archbishop lamented the growing tendency of medical professionals to emphasize the possible defects of Down syndrome, thus steering expectant mothers of children with the disorder toward abortion.

Parents and doctors should be realistic about the challenges, understanding that raising a disabled child will involve “some degree of suffering,” he said. However, they should also see the potential and beauty of children with special needs, realizing that no child is perfect.

Archbishop Chaput noted that today, individuals with Down syndrome have longer life expectancies than ever before and can generally “enjoy happy, productive lives.”

“The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is between love and un-love; between courage and cowardice; between trust and fear,” he said.

This is a choice that must be faced on both an individual level and as a society, he added, emphasizing that “God will demand an accounting” of how we have used our freedom.

If we really “take God seriously,” we will work to uphold the sanctity of human life and dignity of sexuality in our daily lives, he said.

This means that public officials should live out their Catholic faith in the laws that they support; doctors in the procedures they perform and the drugs they prescribe; and citizens in their actions on public issues, he explained.

He praised the work of people and organizations who aid those with disabilities, recognizing in them “an invitation to learn how to love deeply and without counting the cost.”

Archbishop Chaput urged those present at the conference not to be afraid as they persevere in being an apostle to those around them.

“Fear is beneath your dignity as sons and daughters of the God of life,” he said. “Never give up the struggle that the March for Life embodies,” he added. “Your pro-life witness gives glory to God.”

Although changing the culture is “a huge task,” we must recognize that we are being called by God to do so, the archbishop said. “He’s waiting, and now we need to answer him.”

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6 comments to Archbishop Chaput: “Accepting A Child With Special Needs Is A Choice Between Courage And Cowardice!”

  • I was pressurised (on a number of occasions throughout my pregnancy), by medical experts to abort my twins because they “feared” downes syndrome.
    The “experts” put more confidence in the reliability of scientific evidence given through the scans; than the value of my babies lives.
    I refused to do this, and now have two perfectly healthy, happy boys – niether have downes syndrome.
    (The boys were born on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe!)

  • Hello, we are Greg and Megan Dean. We wanted to share with you that we just published a book titled – Mom, Do I Have Special Knees? –
    Our website is http://www.momdoihavespecialknees.com . The publisher is http://www.balboapress.com . Our book celebrates the love of our son, Nick , who has
    Downs Syndrome. You can find our (first draft) of the book on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms1Ok3gJmRo&feature=plcp .
    We also had an interview on The Bishop’s Hour with Bob Dunning on Immaculate Heart Radio. You can listen to at -http://ihrarchive.org/archive/sbh-20120816.mp3 Thank You for considering our book. God Bless, Greg and Megan Dean

  • Jodi L

    Thank you….and let the education begin in the parishes and schools-support and accommodate us from birth on- the moms, children, and families with special needs who want a relgious education for their children!

  • Elena M. Starr

    My dear Archbishop Chaput , I am a teacher of special needs as an autism teacher and in all the multi disciplinary measures and disabitites , some born in down syndrome and with other genetic disorder in polio and mental retardation in NY and now in Folrida , I weep for the elderly as the Legion of Mary and the rest of the members ,The Movement of The Lady of All Nations visit them in the nursing homes. I weep for everyone not for them but for those who are rich in materially and destroying nature in the womb and the environment . Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God . God bless everyone who speaks the truth and nothing but the truth . I do not have a website but I stand for this website of truth http://www.de-vrouwe.info. .. Behold your Mother standing for everyone at the Foot of the cross . We are all members in Christ Mystical Body . Product/ Descendants of/ or from the race of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a poor woman and a messenger for Love and the Purity of the heart and soul against human respect . We come now to satand for God and nothing will falsify His love for Us. Pax et Bonum !!
    Messenger of Hope for the Blessed Mother Mary . the Lady of All Nations ….

  • Mary

    I applaud the Archbishop’s courageous words. God bless him and keep him and may his example give courage to all priests who fear to speak the truth!!! You give great glory to God, Archbishop Chaput!!!!! How can anyone argue with the the holy Will of God? We may not understand it, but we must trust it! He has His mighty purposes for everything that happens in this life.

  • Mo Murphy

    Thanks for sharing this! We are priviledged to live in Archbishop Chaput’s diocese of Philadelphia and I truly admire his words. My daughters are blessed to attend a Catholic school which shares it facilities with an archdiocesan school for those with intellectual disabilities – many have Down’s Syndrome. It’s such a wonderful chance for the children all to be together and for the “typical” kids to learn first-hand the value and dignity of these special children. Even my second-grader takes turns “helping out,” i.e. playing over at Our Lady of Confidence. The first time I saw the two schools assembled together for Mass, there were tears in my eyes as I thanked God for this grace He has given my girls.

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