Vatican City, Feb 10, 2017 / 13:22 pm
When it comes to healthcare and using our resources wisely, we have a responsibility to protect and take care of the most vulnerable in society, especially the elderly, Pope Francis told members of the Italian bishops' conference Friday.
"To optimize resources means to use them in an ethical and responsible manner and not to penalize the most fragile," he said Feb. 10.
"It is necessary to be vigilant, especially when patients are elderly with a heavily compromised health, if they are suffering from serious and costly diseases for their care or are particularly difficult, such as psychiatric patients," he continued.
Pope Francis spoke to the Charity and Health Commission of the Italian Bishops' Conference on the eve of the 25th World Day of the Sick and the 20th anniversary of the National Office for Pastoral Healthcare. The audience took place as a bill is currently being considered in Italy that would effectively legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide, requiring doctors to act on the advanced statements of their patients in this regard, and prohibiting them from conscientious objection.
There have been years marked by strong "social and cultural changes," the Pope noted, "and today we can see a situation with light and shadow."