TO CONFERENCE ON INFANTILE LEUKEMIA
The battle to protect health is
a sign of respect for life
On 7 October 1985, the Holy Father received in
audience the participants in a scientific conference on infantile leukemia. His
address follows, with a translation from Italian.
I am happy to greet all of you, scientists and doctors, experts in the
field of infantile leukemia, who have convened at the Catholic University of the
Sacred Heart for an important conference on infantile leukemia.
Along with you I greet all the persons who are participating in this
conference, your families, the persons accompanying you, and I thank you for the
courtesy which this meeting, solicited by you, demonstrates.
In my pastoral visits I have many occasions to know the pain and the
suffering of little children; and it is with great sorrow that I approach these
human situations involving innocents together with their families. You are
equally well acquainted with the tears, the worry, the profound sadness of the
parents who ask of you the light of hope for an evil which remains in many
respects mysterious, and so often relentless.
I therefore express lively appreciation for the initiative of this conference
which will allow you to compare experiences, to agree upon the formalities for
subdividing and classifying those stricken with acute lymphatic leukemia
according to the illness' varying degrees of gravity, to plan and experiment
with various treatments according to the necessities of each case and, above
all, to evaluate the therapeutic results so far attained in the treatment of
this grave illness.
A word of special congratulations goes to the Catholic University for having
promoted this International Conference. In this way the University responds to
one of its particular purposes. Together with the specific goal of the
professional preparation of doctors, inspired by gospel ethics, the Catholic
University shares with every other university centre the commitment to promote
every form of collaboration in research, in comparing experiences and in
proposing therapies, all in a spirit of solidarity that fully corresponds to the
profound spirit of Christianity.
Your hope is that it be possible, through the studies and the discussions
that are taking place in your scientific dialogue, to better the prospects of
recovery for the tiny patients.
It is to them that our thoughts must turn, full of compassion, employing
every scientific resource in order that, in the existence of these children
afflicted by suffering, life might win out over the dark forces of evil and that
their faces and those of their loved ones might once again radiate smiles.
With you I wish to recommend to Christ, who loved the little ones and wished
to be near them, all their suffering and also your work, so that he might
sustain and illuminate you in your efforts, and guide you in the attainment of
those goals that, together with you, all of us desire.
I would also like to express a word of welcome to the English speaking
participants in this scientific workshop on aspects of the disease of leukemia
as it affects children. Dear friends: I wish to encourage you in your high
calling and in your endeavours to further the knowledge and skills required to
deal with this particular malady.
In treating the health problems of children you come face to face with human
life in one of its most precious, if precarious, phases. Your struggle to
protect and improve the health of the young is undoubtedly a sign of your deep
respect for human life itself, the fundamental value which underlies all the
other values that make our existence meaningful.
The Christian view is that each life is a gift from the Creator, a unique
expression of the goodness which he continually pours out into the world. Our
task is to welcome every individual who comes into being, defend each
person's dignity, and seek to create conditions-including health care
that will make his or her existence a progressive and joyful experience of the
truth and beauty that fill the universe.
The Catholic Church has always held the medical profession in high esteem.
Jesus himself was considered a great healer and many flocked to hear him,
including the little children, precisely because Of the cures he effected. For
him, healing was a way of manifesting God's power and love.
May you too use your art in a spirit of solidarity and brotherhood with those
who have need of your skills!
And may the God of peace and love be with you always!
Teachings of the
Magisterium on Abortion