POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
OF HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II
ON THE BISHOP, SERVANT OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE HOPE OF
71. Human concern leads the Bishop to imitate Jesus, the true ''Good
Samaritan'', filled with compassion and mercy, who cares for others without
discrimination. Health care represents one of the outstanding challenges of the
present time. Tragically, many forms of sickness still persist in different
parts of the world, and although science is making tremendous strides in the
search for new solutions and better treatments, there are always new situations
which pose a threat to physical and mental health.
Within his own Diocese each Bishop, with the help of qualified persons, is
called to work for an integral proclamation of the ''Gospel of life''. When
Christians try to humanize medicine and the care of the sick by showing personal
concern and closeness to the suffering, they become for everyone a powerful
image of Jesus himself, the healer of bodies and souls. Among the instructions
which he gave to his Apostles, the Lord included an exhortation to heal the sick
(cf. Mt 10:8).290 The organization and promotion of adequate
pastoral care for health-care workers should thus be a priority close to the
heart of every Bishop.
In a special way, the Synod Fathers felt the need to give forceful expression
to their concern for the promotion of an authentic ''culture of life'' in
contemporary society: ''Perhaps what most upsets us as pastors is the contempt
for human life, from conception to death, as well as the breakdown of the
family. The Church's 'No' to abortion and euthanasia is a 'Yes' to life, a 'Yes'
to the fundamental goodness of creation, a 'Yes' which can move every person in
the depths of his conscience, a 'Yes' to the family, the most basic community of
hope, which so pleases God that he calls it to become a domestic Church''.291
291Synod of Bishops, Tenth Ordinary General assembly, Message (25
October 2001), 12: L'Osservatore Romano, 27 October 2001, p. 5.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 16 October 2003, the twenty-fifth
anniversary of my election to the Pontificate.