Pope Francis criticized society’s quest for superficial perfection on Sunday (June 12), saying that the drive for perfect bodies marginalized those who may not fit those standards.
“The world does not become better because only apparently ‘perfect’—not to mention ‘made-over’—people live there, [but] when solidarity and mutual acceptance and respect increase,” the Pope said during the homily of a mass for the sick and disabled at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
“It is thought that sick or disabled persons cannot be happy, since they cannot live the lifestyle held up by the culture of pleasure and entertainment,” he continued. ”In an age when care for one’s body has become an obsession and a big business, anything that is imperfect has to be hidden away, since it threatens the happiness and serenity of the privileged few and endangers the dominant model.”
On his visit to the US last year, the pope stopped his motorcade and got out of his car unannounced to bless a disabled boy in the crowd. He has made a point during his papacy to speak out on behalf of oppressed groups, telling leaders of a church tarnished by abuse that they “will not find the Lord” without reaching out to those in most need.
“The Gospel of the marginalized is where our credibility is found and revealed,” he told a group of cardinals last year.