Catholic World News

Pope sees both promise and danger in health-care industry

February 10, 2017

The health-care industry presents “a situation with lights and shadows,” Pope Francis said in a February 10 address to the health-care commission of the Italian bishops’ conference.

“Scientific research has certainly advanced,” the Pope observed, and great strides have been made in “curing, if not defeating, some pathologies.” He voiced his concern that the same progress might be seen in the fight against diseases “toward which the due attention has never been paid.”

The Pope praised dedicated health-care workers who “touch every day Christ’s suffering flesh,” and volunteers tho are “ministers of life” to the sick.

However, the Pope continued, “there are shadows that threaten to worsen the experience of our ailing brothers and sisters.” He continued:

If there is a sector in which the throwaway culture makes most visible its painful consequences, it is exactly that of healthcare. When a sick person is not placed at the center and considered in their dignity, attitudes arise which can even lead to profiteering on other people’s misfortunes.

Specifically, the Pontiff questioned the use of “a business approach to the health-care sector.” If financial concerns are the sole guide, he said, the result “may risk discarding human beings.” True optimization of resources, he said, would mean using those resources ethically, “not penalizing the most fragile.”


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  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Feb. 10, 2017 8:45 PM ET USA

    We'll give a big benefit of serious doubt here in that "penalizing the most fragile" is tantamount to a pro-life statement, i.e. a statement referencing both abortion and euthanasia. This could then also mean the business of trafficking in baby parts. Of course, this is an interpretation and there will be many others who will take it a different direction but that's the opportunity given by grey statements.