This Is My Vocation

At the last Catholic New Media Conference Pat Padley showed snapshots of the Vatican’s (Catholic) website in comparison to The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints’ (Mormon) website.

The Mormon’s are kicking our ass again, I thought.

My brain was well on its way of solidifying the fact that I should at least attempt to apply to grad school, whether I’d get in was doubtful (or so I thought), but I had to try anyway.

I wasn’t always that into Catholicism. In fact I wanted as little contact with anyone who called themselves Catholic as possible. It wasn’t until I tried embracing my own Catholic-ness I was willing to admit why I hated it for so long in the 1st place.

I felt like an outsider in addition to being treated like an outsider. Any scripture I read in regards to possible disability is always accompanied with ideas of sins of the parents or bad spirits and what have you. Combined that with the fact that I was treated like a leper by both students and teachers during my 1st experience in Catholic schooling, well I think you get the idea. Clearly they didn’t see a place for me, so why should I expect there to be a place for me?

The wounds are still there. I’m not sure they’ll ever heal. However I’ve come to the realization that if I want the Catholic Church to do better, and in my opinion it needs to, it’s better to be a part of it than sit on the sidelines and make comments about what should be done & how.

A few weeks ago I was reminded of another reason why I needed to part of the solution.

I’m not the biggest fan of awareness months (1) because there’s so many to remember, (2) who decides what gets what month, (3) if it’s really worthy of awareness than it shouldn’t be limited to 28-31 days. However when one community decides to dedicate a month that’s something truly unique and similar communities should take note (and maybe follow suit).

I’m tired of the Catholic Church not leading the way when it comes to matters that effect major minorities, like the disability community (obviously). Whenever I’ve asked why parishes aren’t accessible (and I’m not just talking physically) the answers don’t really surprise me anymore.

“We don’t have anyone with a disability that comes here.”

“We’re exempt from the ADA.”

“We can’t afford it.”

“Making the building accessible will ruin the history of the building.”

No offence to anyone who genuinely believes these reasons but they’re pretty shallow.

Maybe people have stopped coming because you’re not accessible. Or maybe they don’t bother coming because they know they’ll have problems.

You don’t have to comply with the ADA however; don’t you want to do better than the bare minimum of the law? You may be exempt, but you’re still encouraged to comply.

If you ask for specific funds you just might get them.

You can make modifications without needing to dismantle and entire building.

It’s time to stop making excuses and be inclusive to all. That’s what Jesus would do, don’t you think?

Long story short, this is my vocation, it chose me. (Aren’t I lucky?)


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