Restoring the image: Spirituality, faith, and cognitive disability

John Swinton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


There is a great deal of theological confusion within the church as to the level of participation people with profound cognitive disabilities should be allowed within the orders of the church. For some, sacramental participation without intellectual comprehension is dishonoring to God, while for others, lack of cognitive ability precludes any kind of meaningful spiritual life. This paper sets out some of the various positions and argues that faith and spirituality are not intellectual concepts, but relational realities. It is only in and through our relationships that any of us can learn anything about the divine. A relational understanding of faith and spirituality as outlined here offers the church the freedom to avoid evaluating a person's spiritual life according to intellectual criteria and to begin to find new ways of preaching the Word to those who have no words.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1997


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