In a world that escapes the reality of illness, disability, of old age and death, urge the commitment of Catholics in the world of health for a new humanism

Father Ivano
– health ministry –


Pursuing the assistance to the sick, I I am made a participant in the sufferings of Christ in the flesh of the sick, the disabled or terminally ill, This leads me to operate salvation only when I know myself to handing care instrument in God's hands. The church, which differs according to roles, ministries and charisms, It has the ability to be caring and relief tool in many areas of life that require remediation. In the world of health in particular […]


Ivano Liguori, Ofm. Capp.


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One of flowers in the buttonhole of the church in past centuries it is from service of the sick, the destitute and disabled. Flower which is in itself a real pro-vocation. At the time,, the only real hope to have a hot meal, a clean bed and decent treatment came from Christian communities. And note: not only yesterday. Although today more newsworthy priests with serious moral disorder especially related to sexuality.

It was the Christian Middle Ages to give an ethical foundation to hospitalites. Yes Name known by the ancients, But only as an attitude or individual option and legal obligation towards the guest, it was stated in the low latinity as a shared command, as a service to the needy and suffering in the context of a Christian life proclaimed religion of the poor " [cf. G. Cosmacini, The long art. History of medicine from ancient times to today, Laterza Bari, 2009, pp. 11-118].

The era of the so-called Counter-Reform and the Council of Trent longwave respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit not only with the refutation of Luther's theses, but also creating a new force within the Church in front of countless emergencies they saw in the poor and sick the privileged subject of an ecclesial response capable of proclaiming the health and salvation. We see the emergence of new religious congregations and associations that have used their charisma to man's liberation from various forms of poverty and illness. It is also historically demonstrated commitment by the Catholic Church "in the modern age, the centuries of the great famines and new infectious diseases such as smallpox and cholera. Catholic institutions were actively involved in the care and relief of suffering of the sick but also in research, innovation, in the formation of a real medical and surgical technique science ' [cf. Hospitals, in G. Bar, M.A. Iannaccone, M. Rejected (edited) Dictionary Elementary Apologetic ed. east, Milan, 2015 p. 379].

The common vocation of the Church to care for the sick, the disabled and the poor - in the light of the Good Samaritan - generated centuries in the authentic heroes who have been a constant challenge and a daily challenge to indifference of the increasingly secularized world and away from God. But unfortunately, for some time, we are seeing a tightening progressive autonomy of the world of health that wants to free itself from the tutelage of the Church, with the consequent sliding of those ethical values, anthropological and religious who have characterized the health service - doctors and nurses - for so many centuries. This phenomenon occurs in prejudice and the nullification of those fundamental values ​​that manifest their ontological dignity only when viewed in reference to the person of the Creator. This scenario - well documented by news of suicide cases, euthanasia, abortion and end of life - leads to precise nihilistic choices that harm life and feed the Scrap culture within the social fabric. Before these distortions, Christians themselves faithful in danger of getting used to and show some indulgence to actually morally unacceptable that also occur in the diocesan and parish territory.

Already John Paul II He expressed this concern 30 December 1988, on the occasion of the liturgical feast of the Holy Family:

"We think, Furthermore, the multiple violations for which is presently subjected the human person. When he not recognized and loved in his dignity as the living image of God [cf. Gen 1, 26], the human being is exposed to more humiliating and degrading forms of "manipulation", making it the strongest miserably slave. And "the stronger" can take a variety of names: ideology, economic power, political and inhumane systems, scientific technocracy, intrusiveness of the mass media. Again we are faced with a multitude of people, our brothers and sisters, whose fundamental rights are violated, even after the excessive tolerance and to the clear injustice of certain civil laws: the right to life and, the right to housing and employment, the right to a family and responsible procreation, the right to participate in public and political life, the right to freedom of conscience and religious Test " [cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Christefideles laici, n°5].

Inevitably it requires a vigorous response and very clear by the Church through its members are active with passionate commitment in the fields of politics, of the company and of the ecclesial community to be returned to man the primitive image that God had in mind in creating. That same image that Christ raised and transfigured by his resurrection.

In front of the many emergencies that affect the overall health of each individual you can not opt ​​for such behavior to the many social and humanitarian organizations who see the struggle and the political demands for the mirage of poverty defeat, injustice and disease. Some utopian ideologies of the '900 have proven largely unsuccessful, and have left behind them a major crisis that increased the rate of poverty and disease in the world. Only under the action of the Holy Spirit and in docility to the grace of the heart that can lead even to martyrdom, you can build a road to lead man back to its original beauty, pointing to a new concept of man who in Christ - Behold the man - its most complete realization and successful: "You are the fairest of the sons, on your lips grace is poured, therefore God has blessed you for ever " [cf. Shall 45,3].

The first step for a new humanism, From the welcome begins without reservations of Christ in his humanity and divinity. It is what we can see realized in the life of the Virgin Mary when she herself becomes attentive in service to the pregnancy of her cousin Elizabeth as a result of received angel. Right from the contemplation and acceptance of God's plan on their person, Mary becomes the new Jerusalem where the divine spouse gets permanent home. This stability of the Word of God in the womb of the Virgin, turns into caring action towards Elizabeth's needs. Therefore, the reception of the Word made man leads me to contemplation and consequently effective action.

The humanism that center on the foundation of Jesus and God's man, not afraid to make the truth about his origins and traditions and recognize objective with sincerity the Christian foundations of a world that has had in the womb of Christianity its most prosperous development. The same in health care created a missionary zeal to act only for the good of men and not to keep structures, most of the time, interested in profit and personal interests, or individual power groups. Only if we have a look on the world and the things of the world God's way, the structures of sin can be converted into structures of redemption.

Let's try to clarify the concept "so that Christ be born in you". Some may now turn up your nose, but it is my profound conviction that to practice the assistance to the patient is essential to have a look on the mystery of God, I can not ignore this, because God is love [cf. 1GV 4,9], and love seriously only in the style of God. Because of this Christ can only be born in those who wish to be travel friends in suffering, since it is the most concrete example, stable love brought to the end [cf. GV 13,1]. Moreover, the same component of mystery illness in itself contains, and that man is not able to explain his own strength [cf. Gb 38,2-4; 42,3], It can be illuminated only by the mystery of God.

Pursuing the assistance to the sick I am made a participant in the sufferings of Christ in the flesh of the sick, the disabled or terminally ill, This leads me to operate salvation only when I know myself to handing care instrument in God's hands. The church, which differs according to roles, ministries and charisms, It has the ability to be caring and relief tool in many areas of life that require remediation. In the world of health in particular, there is so much need to have lay people who through their baptismal priesthood offering to God - in the altar of daily life - their work and their specialized service for the salvation of so many brothers in view of a global recovery.

Also John Paul II reminds us that:

"Also the same hospitals and Catholic nursing homes is becoming more numerous, and sometimes even total and exclusive, the presence of the lay faithful, men and women: their own, medici, nurses, other health workers, volunteers, They are called to be the living image of Christ and his Church in showing love towards the sick and the suffering " [cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Christefideles laici, n°53].

But you must, indeed urgent that, in all health facilities of this world, Christian lay faithful become prophets and witnesses to the healing power of the risen Christ.

Paul VI the 23 March 1965 encountering a group of health professionals was able to say:

"Assist, cure, heal the human suffering, ensure and restore to man healthy, efficient life, What other activities can be for dignity, Screenshots, for idealism - after, but alongside that priestly - higher than your '.

The Catholic doctor, Catholic nurses, Catholic social health and so on, They can not steer their professional conscience above all to the Lord and know that he will have to give account of every brother. Like this, l'Act in knowledge and belief, means just that my intellect enlightened by divine grace, Driving my works so I take care of the patient who is visibly expressed my responsibility as a man and as a Christian. In this case thea witness of a holy doctor, Giuseppe Moscati, its medical students is very enlightening:

"Remember that, following medicine, It assumes responsibility for a sublime mission. continue, with God in the heart, with the teachings of your father and your mother forever in the memory, with love and compassion for the bereaved, with faith and enthusiasm, deaf to praise and criticism, tetragono envy, willing only to the good ".

The Catholic laity, which operates in the healthcare world, He must constantly ask the light and strength of the Holy Spirit to loose the chains of convenience, dell'utilitarismo, of fear, compromises, of blackmail, of discrimination, the culture of death and the gap so often present in our hospitals, clinics. Since a times, the fearful awe of their primary or nurse - Today the facility manager and coordinator - inhibit the witness of faith and make several of the fearful Catholics health professionals before the power of the world. Let us always remember Christ and his words: "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage: I have overcome the world!» [cf. GV 16,33]. And thereand tribulations give us patience [cf. RM 5,3] and the foresight to know that at the end, the Lord will be the winner and we with him.

I want to quote again St. Joseph Moscati that spurs us on the path of goodness:

"In all your works, Look at Heaven, and the eternity of life and soul, and then you'd prefer very differently from how well you suggest human considerations, and your business will be inspired by the good '.

The world of healthcare is the ground on which to scatter the good seed of the Word of Life and the workers of this harvest are the many Christians who, through their professionalism are called to clean up this field from weeds growing close to good wheat. The activities of lay Christians in the health world is sometimes more decisive than that of the clergy. They represent the leaven of good [cf. Mt 13,33] and the salt that gives savor [cf. Mt 5,13] in all those contexts and areas of work in which ordained ministers - for different reasons - can not get there and this is a good reason that leads to hope for evangelization. In fact, "the many challenges in the world of health, the Church responds first with a joyful message of hope, founded on the certainty of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and, so, love and faithfulness of God's healing and saving. Of this hope wants to account [cf. 1PT 3,15] through respectful dialogue, an honest discussion and active cooperation " [cf. Pastoral Note Preach the gospel and heal the sick. The Christian community and the health care ministry, n°19].

The voice of so many lay believers in the health world It can be the difference to the many possible catastrophic scenarios where the man's body and his health can break when finally loses the bond with God.


Sanluri, 28 September 2023





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