10 January 2020
Pope Francis

Life is to be welcomed, protected, respected, and served

The message for the 28th World Day of the Sick

“The noun ‘person’ always comes before the adjective ‘sick.’ Therefore, may your work always promote the dignity and life of the human person, without conceding to acts of a euthanistic nature, to assisted suicide, or to the suppression of life, not even when the status of the disease is irreversible.” These are the words that Pope Francis conveyed in his message for the 28th World Day of the Sick, which is celebrated on 11 February.

Life, continued Pope Francis, “is sacred and belongs to God, therefore it is inviolable and cannot be disposed of freely.” Moreover, “it must be welcomed, protected, respected, and served from birth until natural death: this is required simultaneously by reason as well as by faith in God, the author of life. In some cases, conscientious objection is, for you,” he writes addressing healthcare workers, “the necessary choice for remaining in conformity with this ‘yes’ to life and to the human person. In every case, your professionalism, animated by Christian charity, will be the best service to the truest human right, the right to life. When you cannot provide a cure, you can still provide care with gestures and procedures that give relief and comfort to the one suffering.”

Finally, there is an appeal “to healthcare institutions and to the governments of all countries of the world, that in considering economic aspects they will not disregard social justice,” and a word of thanks “to volunteers who place themselves at the service of the sick, who in not a few cases make up for what is lacking in official structures, and who by their gestures of tenderness and closeness reflect the image of Christ the Good Samaritan.