Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pope Benedict's address to health care workers

When Pope Benedict addressed a message to the participants in the 25th International Conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers on 15 November 2010 he said this:

‘ … The theme you have chosen this year “Caritas in Veritate: toward an equitable and human health care”, is of particular interest for the Christian community in which care for the human being, for his transcendent dignity and for his inalienable rights is central.  Health is a precious good for the person and the community to be promoted, preserved and protected, dedicating the necessary means, resources and energy in order that more and more people may benefit from it.
‘Unfortunately the fact that still today many of the world’s populations have no access to the resources they need to satisfy their basic needs, particularly with regard to health care, is still a problem.  It is necessary to work with great commitment at all levels to ensure that the right to health care is rendered effective by furthering access to basic health care.  In our day on the one hand we are witnessing an attention to health that borders on pharmacological, medical and surgical consumerism, almost a cult of the body, and on the other, the difficulty of millions of people in achieving a basic standard of subsistence and in obtaining the indispensable medicines for treatment.
‘In the health-care sector too, which is an integral part of everyone’s life and of the common good, it is important to establish a real distributive justice which, on the basis of objective needs, guarantees adequate care to all.  Consequently, if it is not to become inhuman, the world of health care cannot disregard the moral rules that must govern it. …
‘Justice in health care must be among the priorities on the agenda of Governments and International Institutions.
‘Unfortunately, alongside the positive and encouraging results there are opinions and mindsets that damage it: I am referring to issues such as those connected with the so-called “reproductive health”, with recourse to artificial techniques of procreation that entail the destruction of embryos, or with legalized euthanasia.
‘Love of justice, the protection of life from conception to its natural end and respect for the dignity of every human being should be upheld and witnessed to, even going against the tide: the fundamental ethical values are the common patrimony of universal morality and the basis of democratic coexistence.
‘The joint effort of all is required, but also and above all a profound conversion of one’s inner orientation.  Only if one looks at the world with the Creator’s gaze, which is a loving gaze, will humanity learn to dwell on earth in peace and justice, allocating the earth and its resources justly to every man and every woman, for their good.
‘For this reason, “I would advocate the adoption of a model of development based on the centrality of the human person, on the promotion and sharing of the common good, on responsibility, on a realization of our need for a changed lifestyle, and on prudence, the virtue which tells us what needs to be done today in view of what might happen tomorrow”
(Benedict XVI, Message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, …).’