Francis: treating the sick in their entirety as persons in the image of God

The Pope’s preface to the book “Spirituality in Care. Dialogues between clinic, psychology and pastoral care”, published by San Paolo, signed by Dr. Carlo Alfredo Clerici and Don Tullio Proserpio, respectively a doctor and a priest engaged in service to the sick in the Institute National Cancer Society of Milan. The volume to be released on February 24

Pope francesco

With particular joy I accept the invitation addressed to me by Don Tullio Proserpio and by Dr. Carlo Alfredo Clerici, both engaged in the service of help and support to sick people, as well as family members and the entire staff who work within the National Cancer Institute of Milan. A topic that is certainly current, ever more engaging and that challenges and positively stimulates those who recognize themselves in the Christian faith to ask those real questions that inhabit the heart of each one. We know that we do not have fully persuasive answers to these great questions, especially near the patients’ bed. This too is a form of poverty, but precisely because we recognize ourselves as poor, we turn to the always good and promising word of the Gospel, capable of opening our hearts to hope, that great hope that crosses the heart of those who walk the path of existence. .

The title of the book: “Spirituality in healing”, focuses on a particularly delicate and important topic, such as spirituality in the moment of illness. The text highlights a certainly positive sign of attention on the part of the scientific community which recognizes, for the good of patients, family members, as well as the staff themselves, a help such as spiritual help, which perhaps in recent years has been somewhat neglected. . As it is opportunely pointed out, on the part of those who are or will be involved in this very specific sector, adequate preparation and training in the field is needed, that is, concretely close to the bed of the sick, to be able to move in profound synergy with the entire caring community.

The Covid-19 pandemic has strongly underlined the need not to let oneself be dragged along by economic logic, unable to fully satisfy the profound needs of man. Attention to the spiritual perspective helps to answer this question, in harmony with the other realities involved. Just looking from the periphery of the human condition, marked by the precariousness of existence, favors the construction of those bridges necessary to not forget the human that characterizes us and to always identify new, often unexpected paths.

I hope that this fruitful dialogue between the theological-pastoral and clinical-psychological spheres may continue with ever greater effectiveness, having the constant availability to face such complex aspects. May the Holy Spirit accompany those who share the experience of helping and supporting sick people. I greatly appreciate the commendable sensitivity placed in the care of the sick considered in their entirety as persons to imago Dei. May this essay contribute to promoting a renewed attention in those who care for sick people, so as to make them savor loving proximity and comfort following the example of Jesus the Good Samaritan of humanity.

I entrust the success of your service to the heavenly intercession of Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary, Health of the sick, I send the Apostolic Blessing, accompanied by the remembrance in prayer for the entire community of the Milan Cancer Institute, especially for the hospitalized and their families.

Rome, 23 September 2021

The cover of the volume

Francis: treating the sick in their entirety as persons in the image of God – Vatican News