"Every Human Being Has a Value in Himself"
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 21, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is an exerpt from the address Benedict XVI delivered Saturday upon receiving in audience at the Vatican participants in the 23rd International Conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry. The theme of the congress was "Pastoral Care in the Treatment of Sick Children."
"The medical and human aspects must never be separated and it is the duty of every nursing and health-care structure, especially if it is motivated by a genuine Christian spirit, to offer the best of both expertise and humanity. The sick person, especially the child, understands in particular the language of tenderness and love, expressed through caring, patient and generous service which in believers is inspired by the desire to express the same special love that Jesus reserved for children. "Maxima debetur puero reverentia" (Juvenal, Satire xiv, v. 479): the ancients already acknowledged the importance of respecting the child who is a gift and a precious good for society and whose human dignity, which he fully possesses even unborn in his mother's womb, must be recognized. Every human being has a value in himself because he is created in the image of God in whose eyes he is all the more precious the weaker he appears to the human gaze. Thus, with what great love should we also welcome an unborn child who is already affected with medical pathologies! "Sinite parvulos venire ad me", Jesus says in the Gospel (cf. Mk 10: 14), showing us the attitude of respect and acceptance with which we must look after every child, especially when he is weak and in difficulty, suffering and defenceless. I am thinking above all of little orphans or children abandoned because of the poverty and the disintegration of their family; I am thinking of children who are the innocent victims of AIDS or of war and of the many armed conflicts that are being fought in various parts of the world; I am thinking of children who died because of poverty, drought and hunger. The Church does not forget her smallest children and if, on the one hand she applauds the initiatives of the richer nations to improve the conditions of their development, on the other, she is strongly aware of the need to invite them to pay greater attention to these brothers and sisters of ours, so that thanks to our unanimous solidarity they are able to look at life with trust and hope."