“In our time, where many comforts and technological and social developments are paid for with an increasingly invasive impact on the natural dynamics of the human body, it is urgent to implement a serious education programme in health and lifestyles that respects the body, so that progress is not at the expense of the person”, Pope Francis wrote in a message. The Pontiff, however, put aside his prepared remarks and spoke off the cuff to the members of the Italian Federation of Paediatricians, whom he received in the Hall of the Popes today. “You – the text reads – provide a wide-ranging assistance, necessary to support your affiliates in all stages of their professional lives, and useful to ensure that they can carry out their delicate and crucial tasks with more serenity and greater competence”. “With the experience gained in these forty years of activity, your Federation supports and protects over 5,500 family paediatricians, offering them expertise from a professional and moral point of view, in the spheres of welfare and social security, as well as in the legal and economic fields”, the Pope recalled. “Since the very beginning, your Federation has distinguished itself for its contribution to the foundation of the Italian National Health Service, and over the years has implemented countless health initiatives and has been involved in the upgrading of services offered to citizens. It has signed public and private agreements, maintaining in an autonomous and non-partisan way an active dialogue with political and social partners, while ensuring control over many essential aspects of the health of children and adolescents”. “The age you are dealing with, from birth to adolescence, is undoubtedly the most evolutionary in human life, and requires global knowledge of the human body and its pathologies”, Pope Francis continued: “It can be about understanding and treating cardiovascular conditions in a newborn child, or digestive disorders in a ten-year-old child, or physical and mental issues related to puberty, and so on”. “This wide range of skills requires both in-depth basic training and constant updating”, the Pope remarked: “This is the aim of the many training and research initiatives that you strive to prepare, with meetings, debates and conferences, which can provide you, paediatricians, with what you need to stay up to date and, at the same time, promote a culture more capable of protecting the health of people, especially the little ones”.