“The dignity of the human person and the right to health must always take precedence over any other interest,” expressed Pope Francis this morning toward the end of the General Audience.
Pope Francis said these words to a delegation from the “land of fire and poison.”
This title has been given to an area in the Italian province of Campania, sometimes referrred to as the “Triangle of Death.” The area is a center for illegal dumping of waste and has a cancer mortality rate greater than the Italian national average, likely due to the toxins present, believed to cause a high incidence of tumors.
He assured them of his spiritual closeness to them.
Recalling his visit to the Italian island of Sardinia last year, he thanked the faithful of Sardinia in attendance and encouraged them to “face the problematic situations that still afflict your beautiful island” and to “persevere in hope and solidarity.”
“I assure you that I have not forgotten you and I pray. I remember well the words you shared with me on the serious problems in Sardinia,” he said. “I assure you that I am close to you.”
He also asked the Lord to grant to the faithful of Iraq and Syria the strength to offer, through their actions and their daily life, true witness to Christ and His Gospel.
Urging them to be a “joyful sign of God’s love among the suffering,” he greeted the Daughters of St. Camillo, who are currently celebrating their general chapter.
Turning to the Blessed Mother, the Holy Father invited pilgrims to pray the Rosary every day during May, the month of Mary. (D.C.L.)