Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
February 8, 2010
Church must reach out to the sick
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
VATICAN CITY - The Church must increase its presence among the sick and in society so it can better help defend human life from conception to its natural end, Pope Benedict said.
In his message for the Feb. 11 celebration of World Day of the Sick, the pope highlighted the important role of the Church in bringing Christ's love and healing to all those who suffer: be it from poverty, oppression, remorse or illness.
Given current cultural and historical context, the pope wrote, there is a growing need for "an attentive and widespread ecclesial presence among the sick."
There's also a need for such a presence in society "to be able to effectively transmit the Gospel values of safeguarding human life in all its phases, from its conception to its natural end."
World Sick Day is marked each year on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
In his message, Pope Benedict said World Sick Day aims to remind Catholics how important it is for the Church to offer pastoral service to the sick and those who care for them.
"Every Christian is called to relive, in different and always new contexts, the parable of the Good Samaritan," who offered care and compassion to the man left half-dead by robbers along the roadside.
Just as Jesus told his listeners to offer the same kind of mercy and care to others, today's Christians are called to attend to "the wounds of the body and spirit of our many brothers and sisters whom we encounter on the roads of the world," wrote the pope.
Recalling the Year for Priests, the pope made a special appeal to the world's priests to come to the aid of people marked by suffering.
The message said priests, who are signs and instruments of Christ's compassion, must make every effort to offer care and comfort to those in need.
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