Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 24 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Sharbel Makhluf
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Pope Benedict XVI’s plea to health care workers


theskaman306 | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 10/18/20

In 2012 he urged health care workers to treat patients as "persons" and not just numbers.

Caring for the sick and the suffering has radically changed over the centuries. What started out as a rare skill to save a person’s life has now become a business, often more concerned about numbers than people.

This is something that Pope Benedict XVI spoke against in an address in 2012 to health care workers. He warned against hospitals viewing their services as “products,” that fluctuate according to the market.

In this very context hospitals and structures for assistance must rethink their role to prevent health, first and foremost a universal good to be guaranteed and defended from becoming a mere “product” subjected to the laws of the market, hence accessible to few. The special attention owed to the dignity of the suffering can never be forgotten, applying also in the context of health-care policies the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity.

The medical world has changed drastically over the last century and this has led to a view of the patient as a number, rather than a human person.

Today, although on the one hand because of the progress in technology and science the ability to heal the sick physically is increasing, on the other, the ability to “care for” the patient, seen in his integrity and uniqueness, appears to be weakening. Thus the ethical horizons of medical science that risks forgetting that its vocation is to serve every person and the whole person, in the various phases of his or her life, seem to be dulled. It is to be hoped that the language of the “Christian science of suffering” — to which belong compassion, solidarity, sharing, self-denial, giving freely, the gift of self — become the universal lexicon of those who work in the sector of health-care assistance.

The key to understanding the medical profession is to be seen in the actions of the Good Samaritan.

Dear friends, this healing and evangelizing assistance is the task that always awaits you. Now more than ever our society needs “Good Samaritans” with generous hearts and arms wide open to all, in the awareness that “The true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer.” This “going beyond” the clinical approach opens you to the dimension of transcendence.

As health care workers increase in their importance during these difficult times, Pope Benedict urges us to see each patient as a human person and not simply a dot on a graph.

Read more:
Prayer to St. Luke for those going into surgery


Read more:
A wonderful prayer composed by St. John Paul II for healthcare professionals

HealthcareSpiritual Life
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
Kathleen N. Hattrup
2 Bible verses when you’re weary down to the soul
John Burger
Alumni sue after this Catholic saint’s name was removed fro...
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
5 Questions (and answers) about Pope Francis’ changes to La...
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.