New Thrust Urged in Health Care Ministry

Pope Says “Appropriate Formation of Consciences” Is Needed

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI stressed the need for “appropriate formation of consciences,” given the ethical problems posed by scientific progress in the lives of many people.

“It is necessary, therefore, to give new drive to health care ministry,” the Pope said on Saturday, at the conclusion of the conference on “The Human Genome,” held in the Vatican and called by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.

“This implies a renewal and further study of the health care ministry proposal itself, which will take into account the growth of knowledge spread by the media in society and the highest level of education of persons to whom it is addressed,” said the Holy Father.

According to the Bishop of Rome, “One cannot forget that, ever more frequently, not only the lawmakers but citizens themselves are called to express their thought on scientifically qualified and difficult problems.

“If an appropriate education or formation of consciences is lacking, false values or deviant information may often prevail in the orientation of public opinion.”

Therefore, Benedict XVI stressed that health care ministry must carry out an “essential task”: “to adapt the formation of pastors and educators so that they will be capable of assuming their own responsibilities coherently with their faith and, at the same time, in respectful and loyal dialogue with nonbelievers.”

“In this sector a profound and clear formation of consciences is needed,” the Pontiff said. “The present scientific discoveries affect the lives of families, involving them in unforeseen and delicate options, which it is necessary to address with responsibility.”

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