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Pope Francis: to Palliative Care Congress, “continue reflection and spread the practice”

“The complexity and delicacy of the subjects present in palliative care require continuous reflection and the spread of the practice to facilitate access: a task in which believers can find like-minded companions in many people of good will”.   Pope Francis wrote this in the long message – signed by Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State – sent on the occasion of the International Palliative Care Congress organised by the Pontifical Academy for Life that is taking place in Rome today and tomorrow. “It is significant in this regard – the Pontiff continued – that representatives of different religions and different cultures are present at your meeting, in an effort to deepen their shared commitment. In the training of healthcare workers, those with public responsibilities and in society as a whole it is important that these efforts be carried out together”. Emphasising the manifold dimensions that come into play in the practice of palliative care – scientific, organizational, relational and communicative skills, including spiritual accompaniment and prayer -, Pope Francis insisted on the importance of the family in this path. “It plays a unique role – he noted – as a place where solidarity between the generations presents itself as constitutive in the communication of life, and where mutual aid is experienced even in times of suffering or illness. Precisely for this reason, in the final stages of life, the family network, however fragile and disjointed it may be in today’s world, still constitutes a fundamental element”. Surely, he concluded, “we can learn a lot on this point from cultures where family cohesion, even in times of difficulty, is held in high esteem”.


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