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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

HUMAN LIFE AND DIGNITY MUST ALWAYS BE DEFENDED


VATICAN CITY, 22 NOV 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office the presentation took place of the twenty-sixth international conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. The conference will have as its theme: "Health Pastoral Care, Serving Life in the Light of the Magisterium of Blessed John Paul II", and is due to be held in the Vatican from 24 to 26 November.

  During this morning's presentation, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, noted that the conference aims to ensure that "Blessed John Paul II's teaching on the Gospel of Life, and the translation of that teaching into pastoral activity by the Church, call pastoral care operatives, healthcare workers and all men and women of good will to love and serve life, especially when it is weak and suffering". He also expressed the hope that the conference would "celebrate the sacredness of life and the dignity of the person, which must be defended in all circumstances".

  The theme chosen for this twenty-sixth international conference is inspired by "the profound veneration" which healthcare workers feel for John Paul II, Archbishop Zimowski explained, He also highlighted the late Pontiff's lifelong concern for the sick, expressed in both words and actions. Indeed, it was John Paul II who established the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, as well as the World Day of the Sick and the Good Samaritan Foundation.

  The conference will include "lectures, testimonies and theological-pastoral experiences inspired by John Paul II's teachings on the Christian value of suffering and the Gospel of Life. These will be examined from an interdisciplinary perspective", the archbishop said. On the first day a ceremony will be held in honour of John Paul II, with contributions from Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini and Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, respectively president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care and former secretary to John Paul II.

  The conference will be attended by many groups of faithful active in the field of healthcare, and by representatives from other Churches and religious confessions including Rev. Stavros Kofinas of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Rev. Alfred Krauth of the Lutheran Church. Six ambassadors to the Holy See and forty-two prelates will also be present. In all there will be 685 participants from seventy countries.

  The international conference, which will be preceded by a meeting of bishops with responsibility for health pastoral care, will also include a concert entitled "The Cross, Mercy and Glory" organised in honour of Benedict XVI and focusing on the figure of Blessed John Paul II, to be held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall on 25 November.

  For his part Fr. Augusto Chendi M.I., under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, explained how the council contributes to health training through its Charter for Healthcare Workers, "which contains a summary of Church doctrine on matters regarding the primary and fundamental value of the life of each human being throughout its trajectory; that is, from conception until natural end". The Charter, which dates from 1995, is currently being updated to include John Paul II's subsequent Magisterium and that of Benedict XVI, as well as the ethical questions that have arisen with the progress of medicine and biology. The new Charter is almost ready and will soon be available in various languages.

  Also participating in today's press conference were Bishop Valentin Pozaic S.J., auxiliary of Zagreb, Croatia; Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care; Msgr. Jacques Suaudeau, consultor of the council, and Sr. Myriam Castelli F.S.P., a journalist with RAI International.
CON-AVA/                                VIS 20111122 (610)

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