VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2011 ( Benedict XVI is encouraging those who work in health care to build a culture of life based on ethical values.

The Pope stated this today in an address before praying the midday Angelus. He referred to the upcoming World Day of the Sick, which will be celebrated on Friday, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

This day "is an opportune occasion to reflect, to pray and to increase the ecclesial community's and civil society's awareness of sick brothers and sisters," he affirmed.

"I invite everyone to contemplate Jesus, the Son of God, who suffered and died but is risen," the Pontiff said.

He continued: "God is radically opposed to the arrogance of evil. The Lord cares for man in every situation, shares his suffering and opens his heart to hope."

"Thus I exhort all health workers to see in the sick person not only a body marked by fragility, but first of all a person, to whom complete solidarity must be extended and adequate and competent responses given," the Holy Father stated.

He added, "I hope that everyone will work to make the culture of life grow, to put the value of the human being at the center in every circumstance."

"According to faith and reason the dignity of the person is irreducible to his faculties or the capacities he can manifest, and so it is not lessened when the person himself is weak, handicapped and in need of help," Benedict XVI asserted.

He gave a particular greeting to "delegations of the medical and surgical departments of the University of Rome, accompanied by the cardinal vicar [of the Diocese of Rome] on the occasion of the conference sponsored by the departments of gynecology and obstetrics on the topic of health assistance during pregnancy."

The Pope affirmed, "When scientific and technological research are guided by authentic ethical values it is possible to find adequate solutions for the welcoming of nascent life and the promotion of maternity."

He concluded, "It is my wish that the new generations of health workers are the bearers of a renewed culture of life."

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