Pope: The needs of the sick should come before techniques and the quest for profit
With respect to vaccines, “there is an urgent need to help countries that have fewer of them, but this must be done with far-sighted plans, not just motivated by the haste of wealthy nations to be safer. Remedies must be distributed with dignity, not as pitiful handouts.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis met today with a delegation from the Rome Biomedical Campus University Foundation of the Rome-based Università Campus Bio-Medico, sponsored by Opus Dei.
In his address, the pontiff highlighted patients’ central place. In his view, the healthcare system must put the sick before “techniques and projects”. In Catholic healthcare facilities, the needs of the sick come before “opportunities for profit”; above all, no lives are “unworthy or to be rejected because they do not respond to the criterion of usefulness or the demands of profit.”
“Love for man, especially in his condition of fragility, in which the image of Jesus Crucified shines through, is specific to a Christian reality and must never be lost.” This is true at this point in time. “We are living in a real throwaway culture,” Francis lamented. “This is something in the air that we breath and we must react against this throwaway culture.”
“Every healthcare structure, in particular those of Christian inspiration, should be the place where the care of the person is practiced, and where one may say: “Here we do not see only doctors and patients, but people whom we receive and help; here you encounter first-hand the therapy of human dignity. And this should never be negotiated, it should always be defended.
For the Pope, love ought to be the central criterion for those who work in the health sector. Love is realised only by working "together", a “simple yet difficult word” to live up to, especially during the current pandemic.
The latter “has shown us the importance of connecting, of collaborating, of tackling common problems together. Health care, particularly Catholic health care, has and will increasingly need this, to be in a network, which is a way of expressing togetherness. It is no longer time to follow one’s own charism in isolation. Charity demands giving: knowledge must be shared, expertise must be shared, science must be pooled.
“Science, I say, not just the products of science which, if offered on their own, remain band-aids that can dress the wound but not cure it in depth. This applies to vaccines, for example: there is an urgent need to help countries that have fewer of them, but this must be done with far-sighted plans, not just motivated by the haste of wealthy nations to be safer.
“Remedies must be distributed with dignity, not as pitiful handouts. To truly do good, we need to promote science and its integral application: understanding the contexts, rooting out treatments, nurturing the healthcare culture. It is not easy, it is a real mission, and I hope that Catholic health care will be increasingly active in this sense, as an expression of an outgoing Church.”