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Health care includes spiritual care, Pope reminds Brazilian hierarchy

February 22, 2012

In a message to the Catholics of Brazil, who are inaugurating their annual Fraternity Campaign during Lent, Pope Benedict XVI remarked: “Health par excellence is the health of the soul.”

The theme of this year’s Fraternity Campaign is health, and the Pope applauded the Brazilian bishops’ leadership in encouraging “solidarity with sick people in the hearts of the faithful, and of all people of good will.” Pope Benedict acknowledged that this solidarity can be vital because “the sick often suffer more through solitude and abandonment than through their infirmity.”

At the same time, the papal message—which was addressed to Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, the president of the Brazilian bishops’ conference—also emphasized the spiritual needs of the sick. He noted that the words “health” and “salvation” share a common root, and in the Gospels Jesus combines the ministry of physical healing with the forgiveness of sins.


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