VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 3, 2001 ( What is scientifically possible is not always moral, says John Paul II in a message for World Day of the Sick 2002.

"The search for new and effective ways to alleviate suffering is right, but suffering continues to be a fundamental fact of human life," the Holy Father points out in his message. "Research and medical care do not completely explain or remove suffering altogether," he notes.

"To discover the fundamental and definitive meaning of suffering, we must look to the revelation of divine love, ultimate source of the meaning of all that exists," the Pope states in the text. "The answer to the question on the meaning of suffering has been given by God to man in the Cross of Jesus Christ. Suffering, the consequence of original sin, takes on new meaning: It becomes a sharing in the salvific work of Jesus Christ."

John Paul II points out that "the Church insists on the principle that not all that is technically feasible is morally admissible."

The Vatican recently published the message, in advance of World Day of the Sick, which will be observed next Feb. 11.

"The recent, enormous progress and the capacity of medical science give all of us great responsibility as regards the gift of life, which God offers us and which is always so in all its conditions," the Holy Father says in his message.

In this connection, he urges Catholics and men of good will "to be vigilant against any violation and suppression of life."

"We are ... the custodians of life, not the proprietors," the Pope emphasizes. "From the moment of conception, human life involves the creative action of God and remains forever in a special connection to the Creator, source of life and its sole end."