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Vatican official outlines papal vision for humane health-care policy

Catholic World News - February 03, 2011

At a press conference in Rome on February 3, discussing Pope Benedict’s message for the World Day of the Sick, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care observed that the Pope has a dual message, encouraging meditation on the Christian meaning of human suffering, and at the same time urging greater efforts to provide effective and compassionate care for the sick.

Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski underlined three main themes of the Pope’s call for a reinvigorated approach to health-care policy: an unswerving focus on serving, and especially serving those who are most in need; an authentically human rather than merely technical approach; and the role of local churches in providing compassionate support for the sick.

The archbishop pointed out that in his message for this year’s observance, Pope Benedict includes a reminder that sickness is not limited to the elderly, but strikes young people as well. The Pope asks all Christians “to recognize and serve Christ in the face and condition of our poor, afflicted, weak brothers and sisters.”

The World Day of the Sick is observed on February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The papal message for this year’s 19th observance was made public in December. The February 3 press conference was held in anticipation of this year’s ceremonies and in preparation for a seminar on how Catholic health-care institutions can promote the culture of life.

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