Pope Francis has made a stinging, if familiar, attack on the bioethics of a consumer society in an address in Rome. He decried the tendency to search for the perfect body and to warehouse the disabled out of sight to avoid offending the sensibilities of the “privileged few”.
In an age when care for one’s body has become an obsession and a big business, anything imperfect has to be hidden away, since it threatens the happiness and serenity of the privileged few and endangers the dominant model.
Such persons should best be kept apart, in some “enclosure” – even a gilded one – or in “islands” of pietism or social welfare, so that they do not hold back the pace of a false well-being. In some cases, we are even told that it is better to eliminate them as soon as possible, because they become an unacceptable economic burden in time of crisis.
Yet what an illusion it is when people today shut their eyes in the face of sickness and disability! They fail to understand the real meaning of life, which also has to do with accepting suffering and limitations.
The world does not become better because only apparently “perfect” people live there – I say “perfect” rather than “false” – but when human solidarity, mutual acceptance and respect increase.
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