“You are like hands that God uses to sow hope. You are the voices that these people have so as to claim their rights!”
Pope Francis gave these words of encouragement when addressing those physicians and scientific researchers helping those suffering with Huntington’s disease and their families the morning of Thursday, May 18, 2017, in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.
The meeting dedicated to those with Huntington’s Disease, in solidarity with South America, where the disease is the most widespread has as its theme: ‘Hidden No More’ (Oculta Nunca Más, Mai Più Nascosta).
After the Pope addressed those suffering from the disease and their families, the Pope turned to those physicians, health care workers, volunteers of the associations that are involved with Huntington’s Disease and with those who suffer from it.
“The service that you all provide is valuable, because it is surely your dedication and your initiative that give tangible shape to the hope and motivation of the families who trust in you.”
“May the Lord bless your work,” the Pope told them, praying, “may you be a point of reference for patients and their families who, in various circumstances, find themselves having to face the already difficult trials that the disease entails, in a social-health care context which often is not oriented to the dignity of the human person.”
Francis then turned to the geneticists and scientists present, acknowledging that for a long time, they have not been “sparing any energy,” and “have dedicated themselves to studying and researching a treatment for Huntington’s Disease.”
Francis recognized that there is a great deal of expectation surrounding their work, “resting on your efforts are the hopes of finding the way to a definitive cure for the disease,” but also of “improving the living conditions of these brothers and sisters,” and of “accompaniment, especially in the delicate phases of diagnosis, at the onset of the first symptoms.”
“May the Lord bless your task!” he said.
“I encourage you to always pursue it with means that do not contribute to fueling that “throw-away culture” that at times infiltrates even the world of scientific research.”
“Some branches of research, he lamented, “utilize human embryos, inevitably causing their destruction.”
“But we know that no ends, even noble in themselves, such as a predicted utility for science, for other human beings or for society, can justify the destruction of human embryos.”
Telling them that they make up a large and motivated community, Francis prayed: “May the life of each of you — both of those who are directly affected by Huntington’s Disease and those who work hard every day to support the sick in their pain and difficulty — be a living witness to the hope that Christ has given us. Even through suffering there passes a path of abundant good, which we can travel together.”
Pope Francis concluded, thanking them all and reminding them to pray for him.
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