Original Research

People with disabilities as a gift and a challenge for the church

Dariusz Lipiec
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5449 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5449 | © 2019 Dariusz Lipiec | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 March 2019 | Published: 12 December 2019

About the author(s)

Dariusz Lipiec, Intitute of Catechtics and Pastoral Theology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland; and, Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

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A person with disabilities is a person suffering from some acquired or congenital dysfunctions in the development or in his mobility, mentality or sensual perception, which prevent his normal functioning in the social, cultural and religious life. Although disability strongly influences the life of a person with disabilities, it does not influence his dignity. A person with disabilities is fully equipped with human features: he is the subject of his life and has unlimited human rights. God gives life to the persons with disabilities and creates them as his children, as his helpers and co-workers. When the people who suffer from disability accept it and give testimony of suffering, they thus participate in the ecclesial apostolate in the church and in the world. The apostolate of suffering is perceived as one of the greatest gifts for the church. At the same time, people with disabilities receive the support from the Christian community. This support concerns both everyday existence and the realisation of the vocation given by God. The families of the people with disabilities should receive particular aid. This aid should mainly be provided to the children with disabilities in the family.


disability; people with disabilities in the church; care of people with disabilities; pastoral work of people with disabilities; congenital dysfunctions; apostolate of suffering


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