Addressing the Italian Association of Organ Donors in the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis extolled the merits of organ donation, saying it should be “encouraged as a manifestation of generous solidarity”.
Noting the developments in transplant medicine that have made it possible to donate after death, and in some cases even during life, the Pope said that, “organ donation responds to a social need because, despite the development of many medical treatments, the need for organs still remains great.”
He went on to that, “donation means looking at and going beyond oneself, beyond one's individual needs and opening oneself generously to a wider good.” In this perspective, the Pontiff added, ”organ donation is not only an act of social responsibility, but also an expression of the universal fraternity which binds all men and women together.”
Respecting religion and ethics
Pope Francis, underlined that it was important that organ donation remained an unpaid free act. In fact, he said, “any form of commercialisation of the body or of a part of it is contrary to human dignity. In giving blood or an organ of the body, it is necessary to respect the ethical and religious perspective.”
Organ donation, an offering to the Lord
The Pope pointed out that “For those who do not have a religious faith, the gesture towards needy brothers and sisters is called to be made on the basis of an ideal of selfless human solidarity.” Believers, he continued, “are called to live it as an offering to the Lord, who has identified himself with those who suffer from illness, been in road accidents or accidents at work.”
Pope Francis stressed that it was important to promote a culture of donation through information, and awareness, adding that, from this gift of giving, others can enjoy life and better health.
Faced with threats to life, Pope Francis said, which we unfortunately have to witness almost daily, as in the case of abortion and euthanasia - to mention only the beginning and end of life - society needs these concrete gestures of solidarity and generous love, to make it clear that life is a sacred thing.
In conclusion, the Pope encouraged those present to continue their efforts to defend and promote life, through organ donation.