Vatican official calls depression “one of the main killers of our time”

.- Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, announced on Wednesday the program and goals of an international conference on depression to be held at the Vatican November 13-15.

Cardinal Lozano said his dicastery has the duty to become familiar with present-day illnesses and “one of the most important is depression.”  “It has been classified as one of the main killers of our time,” he added.

Referring to modern day culture which is “devoid of values, based on well-being and pleasure, and in which economic gains count as the supreme goal,” human beings, he said, “have not been able to escape the ghost of death” despite technological advances and scientific discovery. 

According to the Mexican-born Cardinal, sadness and fear of destruction take the upper hand.  Death, he affirmed, is “a danger that provokes fear which can turn into depression in all its forms.  This is the reason why we thought it was important to reflect on a deeper level on this illness.”

Cardinal Lozano said that during the conference, depression in the modern world will be examined in presentations on the following themes: depression between malaise and illness; depression and religious crisis; the suicide crisis; the media and accentuation of stress. 

In the second session, he continued, the following topics will be studied: the history of depression; depression, subjective moral references and objective moral references; the rejection of suffering; the search for personal well-being; the meaning of depression and the malaise seen from the Jewish, Islamic, Hindi and Buddhist perspective.

During the third session, the following themes will be considered: the welcoming of depressed people in the medical and hospital context; the role of the family and depression; the pastoral and spiritual care of the depressed and the need for a pastoral care of Christian faith and trust in life.

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