Pope Affirms God's Power to Remove Suffering

Visits Sick at Hospital Founded by Padre Pio

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SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy, JUNE 21, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is affirming that suffering cannot be understood on a human level, but requires faith in God, who alone has the power to remove it.

The Pope said this today in a meeting with directors, employees and patients at the hospital established by Padre Pio, the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, the «Home to Relieve Suffering.»

The Pontiff is spending the day in San Giovanni Rotondo where St. Pio of Pietrelcina, popularly known as Padre Pio, is buried.

The Holy Father recalled Padre Pio’s desire, when he launched the hospital in 1956, that «the commitment of science in treating the patient never be separated from a filial trust in God, infinitely tender and merciful.»

He noted the «recognized scientific and a medical results» of the institution, and encouraged its «evangelical work.»

Benedict XVI affirmed, «Each time one enters a place of care, one’s thoughts turn naturally to the mystery of disease and pain, to the hope of healing and to the inestimable value of health, which is often only recognized when it is lost.

«In hospitals one touches with one’s hands the preciousness of our existence, but also its fragility.»

Following the example of Jesus, he stated, «the Church, from its very beginnings, moved by the Holy Spirit, has considered it her duty and privilege to stand beside those who suffer, cultivating a preferential attention for the sick.»

The Pope noted: «Sickness, which manifests itself in many forms and strikes in different ways, raises disturbing questions: Why do we suffer?

«Can the experience of pain be considered positive? Who can liberate us from suffering and death?»

These questions, he said, cannot be answered on a human level, «since suffering is an unfathomable mystery for our reason.»

He added, «Suffering is part of the very mystery of the human person.»

«Only God can remove the power of evil» that is the source of suffering, the Pontiff asserted.

He explained that «faith helps us to penetrate the meaning of all things human and therefore also of suffering.»

The Holy Father affirmed, «There is, therefore, an intimate relationship between the Cross of Jesus — the supreme symbol of the pain and the price of our freedom — and our pain, which is transformed and transcended when it is lived in the awareness of the closeness and solidarity of God.»

«Padre Pio had understood this profound truth,» he said.

Benedict XVI encouraged the hospital workers to «be reserves of love» and to be faithful to the mission left to them by the saint.

The institution was inaugurated with 250 beds, and now has grown to almost 1200 beds.

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Full text: http://www.zenit.org/article-26239?l=english

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