Health Care Ministry More Than Bringing Communion

ROME, OCT. 26, 2009 ( Health care ministry is more than bringing sacraments to the sick, but rather integrates the sacramental life of both patients and providers in a «vigorous and continuous» proclamation of the Gospel, according to the president of the Vatican’s health care council.

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Archbishop Zigmunt Zimowski spoke about the broad base of health care ministry in a conference on traditional and complementary medicine held last week in Rome.

The prelate suggested that the realm of health, sickness and suffering involves the «essence of the human being,» Vatican Radio reported. Health care personnel are called to take care of the whole person, «in all his integrity.»

Service of the sick «embraces all the dimensions of the human person: physical, psychic, spiritual and social,» the archbishop affirmed, saying this is why the Church emphasizes the ethical responsibilities of health care workers.

This is ever more the case, Archbishop Zimowski contended, citing Pope John Paul II, since «dangers can be hidden behind an arsenal of techniques and devices of ultra-modern equipment, or range to the desolating loneliness of patients abandoned to themselves.»

«Health care structures,» he affirmed, «in no case can be reduced to the administration of the sacraments to patients.»

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