Pope Francis greets members of the Italian 'Federsanita' Confederation Pope Francis greets members of the Italian 'Federsanita' Confederation  (Vatican Media)

Pope: Cutting healthcare resources 'an outrage against humanity'

Pope Francis meets with the Italian healthcare confederation “Federsanità”, and encourages them to ensure that everyone has access to adequate care.

By Vatican News staff reporter

The Italian 'Federsanità' is a confederation that brings together local health authorities, hospitals, and scientific hospitalisation and treatment institutes, together with the representatives of the Association of Italian Municipalities.

The group's objective is to promote policies aimed at encouraging social-health and social-welfare integration paths strongly geared towards a new concept of 'taking charge' of patients based on proximity, proactivity, personalization and participation.

It is on the basis of this identity that Pope Francis, on Saturday, proposed three 'antidotes' which, he said, “can help you to walk in the furrow you have mapped out.”

Breaking down boundaries

Speaking to the delegation gathered in the Vatican, Pope Francis honed in on “proximity”, callling it the antidote to “self-referentiality”.

He noted that seeing one's self in the patient, “breaks the chains of selfishness, knocks down the pedestal on which we are sometimes tempted to climb, and prompts us to recognise ourselves as brothers, regardless of language, geographical origin, social status or health condition.”

“Ours is the God of closeness,” he said. Having this perspective, he continued, also means “breaking down distances, ensuring that there are no 'A' and 'B' class patients, putting energies and resources into circulation so that no one is excluded from social and health care.”

He also stressed that when a country loses its public healthcare, “it begins to make distinctions between the population; those who have access, who can have healthcare, on payment, and those who are without healthcare. That is why public healthcare is your wealth, here in Italy: please do not lose it," he said.

Dignity of the person

The second antidote focused on wholeness, which is opposed to fragmentation and partiality.

“If everything is connected, we must also rethink the concept of health from an integral perspective, embracing all the dimensions of the person. Without in any way detracting from the value of specific skills, curing a sick person means considering not only his or her pathology but also his or her psychological, social, cultural and spiritual condition.”

The Pope underlined that “when Jesus heals someone, He not only eradicates the physical illness from the body but also restores their dignity, reintroducing the person into society and giving them a new life.”

“A holistic view of care,” Pope Francis noted, “helps to counter the 'throwaway culture', which excludes those who, for various reasons, do not meet certain standards.”

He went on to say that in a society “that risks seeing the sick as a burden, a cost, we need to put back at the centre what is priceless, cannot be bought and cannot be sold, that is, the dignity of the person.” Human life, he said, “must always be protected, from conception to its natural end.”

Healthcare for all

The third antidote the Pope dwelt on was the common good, as a remedy to the pursuit of vested interests.

“Even in the field of healthcare, the temptation to let economic or political advantages of a few groups prevail at the expense of the majority of the population frequently arises.”

Focusing his attention on the pandemic, Pope Francis observed that it “has taught us that 'every man for himself' quickly translates into 'all against all', widening the gap of inequalities and increasing conflict."

Instead, he insisted, “We must work to ensure that everyone has access to care, that the health system is supported and promoted, and that it continues to be free. Cutting resources for healthcare is an outrage against humanity.”

04 June 2022, 12:17