» 03/22/2007, 00.00
Doctors must never look down on a human life, however disabled it may be, says Pope
In a speech to members of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, Benedict XVI says man’s right to be treated throughout his life stems from his inherent dignity as a human being. Christian health care workers must add the “Charity” that Jesus showed to this principle.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Doctors and nurses “must never look down on any human life, however disabled, and must always know how to encourage treatment” for everyone for as long as they live. Indeed, for Benedict XVI “respect and trust in health care workers is proportionate to the certainty one has that these defenders of life” will follow such a principle.
Once more the Pope expressed his opposition to euthanasia in a talk he gave in the Vatican to the participants to the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.
In it he stressed that each human being has a “fundamental right” to treatment and maintained that every Christian health care worker must add to the ethical principles of his or her profession the “Charity” that Jesus showed to people who were suffering.
In line with the principle of following Christ or “sequela Christi,” whom the Gospels present as a “divine doctor”, Benedict XVI reiteirated “the biblical perspective that values the natural ethical principle whereby the sick must be treated on the basis that each human life must be defended according to the particular difficulties it faces and the concrete means of treatment available.”
This ethical perspective, which is based on the dignity of the human person and the rights and duties that that it entails, “is confirmed and developed by the love commandment, which is at the heart of the Christian message.”
Christian health care workers must therefore be well aware that there is a very tight and indissoluble link between the quality of the service they provide and the virtues of charity to which Christ calls them. It is in doing one’s job well that they bear witness to God’s love. “Charity as a duty of the Church was part of my encyclical Deus charita est,” said the Pope, “and has a particularly significant application in the care of the sick. The history of the Church bears witness to this with innumerable cases of men and women [. . .] who have worked in this field."
Benedict XVI completed his talk by mentioning the recently published Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis on the Eucharist from which the health care ministry can draw “the strength to help man effectively and promote him in accordance with his dignity.”
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