ADDRESS OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
Friday, 21 January 2005
1. I offer you my cordial greeting, with a special thought of gratitude for
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, who has expressed your common sentiments.
In this regard, it is comforting to think of all the pastoral work that the Dicastery is able to carry out with harmonious and specific animation, linked to the Bishops' Conferences and Catholic Organizations, "to promote and spread an ever-better ethical-religious formation of Christian health-care workers in the world, keeping in mind the different situations and specific problems which they must face in carrying out their profession... to safeguard essential values and rights connected with the dignity and the supreme destiny of the human person" (Dolentium Hominum, n. 5).
In her pastoral action, the Church is called to face the most delicate and unavoidable issues that well up in the human heart in the face of suffering, illness and death. It is from faith in Christ who died and rose that these issues can draw the comfort of the hope that does not disappoint.
Today's world, which often does not possess the light of this hope, suggests
solutions of death. Hence, there is the urgent need to promote a new
evangelization and a strong witness of active faith in these vast secularized
Properly enlightened by the words of the priest and of those who assist him,
the sick person can joyfully discover the particular mission entrusted to
the sick in the Mystical Body of the Church: united with the suffering Christ,
each one can cooperate in the salvation of humanity, making the most of his or
her prayers with the offering up of one's suffering (cf. Col 1: 24).
4. This must not, however, dispense Church leaders from paying stimulating and active attention to the structures where sick people sometimes suffer forms of marginalization and a lack of social support. Church leaders must also extend this attention to the areas of the world where the neediest of the sick, despite the progress of medicine, lack medical drugs and appropriate treatment.
The Church must also devote special care to those areas of the world where those sick with AIDS receive no help. The Good Samaritan Foundation was created especially for them; its aim is to contribute to helping the peoples most exposed with the necessary therapeutic support.
The work of evangelization, the formation of consciences and the charitable witness that your Dicastery promotes in the world are a precious contribution, not only to comforting the suffering but also to guiding civil societies towards the demanding goals of the civilization of love.
5. I therefore thank you, dear brothers and sisters, for all the work done in these years, and I urge you to continue it with renewed enthusiasm. You know that I am constantly close to you and accompany you in your Dicastery's tasks with my prayers and my full confidence in the dedication you devote to your important activities. I encourage you in them, and to comfort you in your work I impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you, with which I also intend to embrace all those to whom you reach out through your work.
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