Vatican City, 12 April 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father met with the participants in the Congress of the Italian Society for Oncological Surgery, organised by the “La Sapienza” University of Rome and by the Sant’Andrea Hospital. “Scientific research has multiplied the possibilities for prevention and treatment, and has discovered therapies to treat many illnesses”, said the Pope. “But when we speak of in full health, it is necessary not to lose sign of the fact that the human person, created in the image and semblance of God, is a unity of body and spirit. These two elements are distinct but inseparable, because the person is one entity.
Therefore, even illness, the experience of pain and suffering, does not relate only to the bodily dimension, but to man in his entirety. This creates the need for an integral treatment, that considers the person as a whole and unites medical care with human, psychological and social support, spiritual guidance, and support for patients’ families”.

Pope Francis recalled Pope John Paul II’s Moto Proprio “Dolentium hominum” of 1985, remarking that “it is indispensable for healthcare workers to ‘be led by an integrally human view of illness” and as a result be “able to effect a fully human approach to the sick person who is suffering’. … Fraternal communion with the sick opens us up to the true beauty of human life”.

Finally, referring the beginning of Holy Week, which culminates in the Triduum of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, he affirmed, “Here human suffering reaches its lowest point, and is redeemed by God. God as love. Only Christ can give meaning to the scandal of innocent pain”.