Vatican City, Feb 1, 2021 / 08:30 am
People with leprosy suffer not only from physical disease but also from harmful social stigmas which can lead to mental illness, Cardinal Peter Turkson said on Sunday.
In a message for World Leprosy Day on Jan. 31, the cardinal encouraged people to include those sick with leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease, in their communities and relationships.
"Not everyone will have the skills or expertise to cure Hansen's disease physically, but everyone is capable of promoting that culture of encounter which brings about healing and the mental well-being of those affected by this distressing illness," he said.
Turkson, prefect of the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said that a lack of participation in society can have a "profoundly negative impact on self-esteem and a person's outlook on life, ultimately leaving the person vulnerable to mental illness."