Progress must never trump care, says Pope Francis

Although scientists have made great strides in medicine, genuine care and listening to those in pain should always be at the forefront of any therapy, Pope Francis said.

“Patients are always more important than their illnesses, and for this reason, no therapeutic approach can ignore listening to the patient, his story, his anxieties and his fears”, wrote the Pope in his message for the World Day of the Sick 2022, which the Catholic Church celebrates on February 11, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Care that respects the “dignity and frailties” of each patient is particularly necessary when “recovery is not possible”, he added.

“It is always possible to console; it is always possible to make you feel a closeness that is more interested in the person than in their pathology. For this reason, I hope that the training given to health workers will enable them to develop a capacity for listening and relating to others, ”Pope Francis wrote in his message, which was published on January 4.

Reflecting on Christ’s call in Luke 6:36 to “be merciful”, Pope Francis focused on the need to accompany those who suffer “on a path of charity”.

Mercy, he said, “expresses the very nature of God” in that he “takes care of us with the strength of a father and the tenderness of a mother.”

Many sick people, especially during the current pandemic, “have spent the last part of their earthly life in solitude, in an intensive care unit, assisted by generous caregivers, yet far from their loved ones and the most important people in the world. their life. lives, ”noted the Pope.

“This helps us to see how important it is the presence at our side of witnesses of the charity of God, who, like Jesus, very mercy of the Father, pour the balm of consolation and the wine of hope on the wounds of the sick. “

Pope Francis thanked the healthcare workers who went out of their way to care for the sick as a mission “carried out with love and competence, (which) transcends the limits of your profession”.

“Your hands, which touch the suffering flesh of Christ, can be a sign of the merciful hands of the Father,” he said. “Be aware of the great dignity of your profession, as well as the responsibility that it entails. “

Pope Francis said pastoral health care ministry provides an “indispensable service” and that all Christians are called to offer “closeness to God” to the sick and suffering.

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