Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia © L'Osservatore Romano

'Palliative Care Is a Human Right,' says Pontifical Academy for Life

Monsignor Paglia’s Address at a Conference in Qatar

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“Palliative care is a human right,” affirmed Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life. “Different international programs are implementing it, but the true human right is to continue to be recognized and welcomed as a member of society, being part of a community,” he stressed.
Monsignor Paglia made these comments on opening the works of the Conference entitled “Muslim and Christian Perspectives on Palliative Care and the End of Life,” which began on January 22, 2019, at Doha, in Qatar, reported “Vatican News” in Italian. The two days of study, organized by Georgetown University and the WISH program of the Qatar Foundation, began with the signing at Qatar of a Joint Declaration on the End of Life and Palliative Care, by the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) and the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Palliative care is a reaction to the “throw-away culture,” which renders normal euthanasia and indifference to others, said Monsignor Paglia, stressing its importance today when one witnesses “the marginalization, discrimination and elimination of the most fragile human beings, such as those that suffer serious, disabling or incurable illnesses.”
“I consider it urgent to intensify the reflection to address more solidly the great anthropological questions and the immense ethical challenges that present themselves to us with the questions that concern the end of life,” continued Monsignor Paglia.
Recalling the contribution of religions ”to give concrete impulse to this was the form of accompaniment of sick or dying persons,” Monsignor Paglia stressed  “the capacity of religions themselves to reach humanity’s peripheries,” but also the essence itself of religions, described as being part of “veritable forces of palliative care.”
“Palliative care embodies a vision of man of which their great religious traditions are the guardians and promoters: that is the most profound and incisive contribution that they can make in terms of motivation and inspiration,” added Monsignor Paglia.
The President of the Pontifical Academy for Life recalled “the specific mandate that Pope Francis gave to the Pontifical Academy for Life on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its institution. “ The Holy Father called to “reinvent a new fraternity,” he said, “such is the anthropological and social challenge of our time.”
By way of conclusion, Monsignor Paglia said that the palliative care community witnesses in a new way a living together that puts the person and his good at the center. In this community, the good of each is pursued as being a good for all.

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Marina Droujinina

Journalist (Moscow & Brussels). Theology (Brussels, IET).

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