Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 9, 2000
We are stewards of health
Archbishop says health care not a commodity to be sold
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Health care is not a commodity to be bought and sold, but a sacred ministry and a
sacred service to others, says Archbishop Thomas Collins.
And those involved in this ministry and any other ministry are called to be stewards of that which is not theirs, the archbishop told the annual convention of the Catholic Health Association of Alberta and Affiliates.
"We are called to be stewards. We don't own. We are simply trustees of something beyond us and that is really fundamental to our life of service."
Collins spoke on stewardship and the common good at the Sept. 28-29 event.
"In our health care system, stewardship calls on us to utilize the resources for the common good," the archbishop said. "Stewardship requires that we use natural, social and health care resources prudently and in the service of all."
Collins said the theme of stewardship is central to the social teaching of the Church and is basic to the Gospel.
In Old Testament times they had this strong idea, for example, that you couldn't own the land. "You were trustees of the land and you couldn't take it, you only shared it," Collins said.
And when one was reaping the fields, "you always had to leave something on the edge" for the gleaners and for those who were in need.
"It's God's land. You don't own it, you don't control it, you don't master it," the archbishop said.
Health care is a social responsibility; it is a seeking of the common good, he said. "Part of the common good of all of us as human is that we care for the vulnerable.
"As St. James says in his letter, true religion is taking care of the widow and the orphan, which in this society that means basically the vulnerable.
"This is part of who we are. It's not an extra. . . . To walk down the road and not notice those who are in need is just unacceptable."
The time, energy and love that we have are all given to us by God. "The strength we have, the love we have, the life we have is given to us not to be in control but so that we may use it for the good of others," Collins said.
"If we seek to master and control, we end up with a pile of dust in our hands."
Central to stewardship is the idea of accountability: "How we are using that which has been entrusted to us. We are stewards. We are responsible, answerable to others."
The main standard or norm of accountability for Christians is the common good. "It helps us to see how have I exercised my stewardship."
As people made in the image and likeness of God "we are made to live in relationships of generous love," Collins said.
Christians must always be moving outwards and be aware of those around them, he said. "We are not meant to be isolated and sort of grabbing on our own. We grow, we discover who we are by reaching out."