- Dr Zachariah Duke, Lecturer in Theology at The Broken Bay Institute, Pennant Hills, New South Wales, Australia
Rhetoric and actual substantive efforts towards inclusion of people living with a disability: Reflections from a qualitative study in the Australian Catholic Church
This paper examines the role of the Australian Catholic Church, its leaders and its relevant agencies and organisations in advocating for and welcoming people living with a disability into the life of the Church. It is clear from the literature and the qualitative interviews examined throughout my recently completed PhD thesis that, at the rhetorical level, the Australian Catholic Church accepts, welcomes and advocates for all people regardless of their intellectual or physical abilities. This paper seeks to investigate the relationship between this rhetoric and actual substantive efforts towards inclusion of people living with a disability. It finds, based on the lack of substantive evidence revealing actual inclusionary practices, that there is a significant contradiction between the policy rhetoric and practice.