Cardinal Rigali to address conference on pastoral response to addiction


Cardinal Justin Rigali will deliver the opening address of a Conference on Addictions which will consider the pastoral concerns regarding addiction. The cardinal warns that people of all backgrounds and ages can be affected by addiction, noting that the inviolable dignity of the person is especially relevant in this area.

The conference will focus on the relation between the sacred and the therapeutic dimensions of clinical pastoral care in addictions ministry, a press release from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia says. Issues of prevention, treatment and recovery will be addressed as well as the pastoral care of individuals and families.

The event is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 5 at the Sheraton City Center Hotel in Philadelphia and will close with an afternoon Mass celebrated by the cardinal at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Cardinal Rigali’s opening address will be based on his book “Let the Oppressed Go Free: Breaking the Bonds of Addiction,” published as part of Basilica Press’ Shepherd’s Voice Series.

In his book, the cardinal writes that the Catholic Church has addressed addiction and dependency in various ways: calling for care for the drug addicted or dependent, offering spiritual guidance for those in recovery, and advocating for greater integration of pastoral and clinical strategies for both treatment and prevention of addiction.

“ … the contemporary culture so often casts persons to the sidelines, and in their pain they sometimes seek out ways of coping that do further harm to their human dignity,” Cardinal Rigali writes in the book’s introduction. “Pastoral experience tells us that persons of all backgrounds and ages can be affected by addiction. The Church always calls us to appreciate and renew our dedication to the inviolable dignity of the human person. This is especially true in the area of addiction.”

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