CNS photo | Paul Haring
Sr. Nejmah Habash talks with Ronah Tebhoni and her two-month old daughter, Ranim, at a health clinic in Jordan run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena.
Pope Benedict and other Church leaders said it was the moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens, regardless of social and economic status or their ability to pay.
Access to adequate medical attention, the pope said in a written message Nov. 18, was one of the "inalienable rights" of man.
In a message to the 25th International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry Nov. 18-19, the pope lamented the great inequalities in health care around the globe.
While people in many parts of the world aren't able to receive essential medications or even the most basic care, in industrialized countries there is a risk of "pharmacological, medical and surgical consumerism" that leads to "a cult of the body," the pope said.