The weak force of religions at the service of the sick
On March 29 and 30, representatives from religions from all over the world gathered together to discuss for the first time palliative care for the elderly.
The focus of the meeting, which
was held in the Marconi Room of the Vatican Radio and on the premises of the
PAV, was the project "Religions of the World Charter: Palliative Care for Older
The event involved representatives
of world religions and prominent figures of the scientific community, as well
as volunteers, patients, and their families.
As Silvia Lefebvre, President of
the Maruzza Foundation, emphasized, palliative care is poorly understood and is
erroneously considered synonymous with terminal care. This is why a workshop on
the topic that also brings together religions, “has the opportunity to reach everyone
and to introduce palliative care to every corner of the world."
"Religions bring down walls
and help us to be united," opened Msgr. Paglia. "To them belongs the
task of helping to recover the meaning of existence and especially at a moment as
decisive as that which precedes death."
Many of the experts who spoke at
the meeting emphasized the need to establish communication with the patient and
with the patient’s family. "Palliative care," explained Suresh Kumar,
director of the WHO Collaborating Center for India, "is a community
effort, care that is not only medical but also psychological and social."
Unfortunately, such treatments often
encounter the indifference of public opinion and a lack of preparation of
healthcare professionals. It seems, therefore, that there is still much to do so
that palliative care becomes a model of good care regardless of the illness.
For the Ven. Tsung-Tueng
Bhilkshuni, director of the Taiwan Association of Clinical Buddhist Studies,
the religious approach to palliative care highlights the importance of dialogue
with the patient, in order to accompany him to and prepare him for a
The weak force of religions,
reiterated Msgr. Paglia, is their ability to contribute to building a humane
culture that is able to support and welcome the life of every person in every
situation, even the weakest. "The PAV wants to be a multiplier of
initiatives such as these, which take care of everyone, especially those who
are marginalized and abandoned. Each person is part of creation and is responsible
for himself or herself and for the whole of humanity. All this must be safeguarded
with particular care, especially in moments of greatest weakness. "
Details of the event are available
on Maruzza Foundation website
Link to the opening remarks of Bishop Paglia