VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called for greater acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorders and their families to break down the “isolation” and “stigma” that burdens them.
“Everyone should be committed to promoting acceptance, encounter and solidarity through concrete support and by encouraging renewed hope,” the pope said Nov. 22 during a meeting with people with autism disorders, also known as ASD, and their families, and with 700 participants in a three-day conference on autism and related disorders, organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry.
Pope Francis called the daily challenges for people with autism spectrum disorders and their families “a cross” and noted the need to develop more “comprehensive and accessible” support networks.
The accompaniment of people with autism and their families must not be “anonymous or impersonal,” he stated. Rather, it must involve “listening to the profound needs that arise from the depths of a pathology which, all too often, struggles to be properly diagnosed and accepted without shame or withdrawing into solitude.”
The pope said support networks should extend to include “grandparents, friends, therapists, educators and pastoral workers,” who “can help families overcome the feelings that sometimes arise of inadequacy, uselessness and frustration.”
He thanked families, parish groups and various organizations for the care they provide people with ASD, noting that such care is the “direct responsibility” of governments, institutions and Christian communities. He concluded by encouraging researchers in their work of discovering treatments and therapies to help cure and prevent the disorders.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103