VATICAN INSIDER VISITS JRS, JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE
My guest this week in Vatican Insider’s interview segment is Jesuit Fr. Tom Smolich, the international director of JRS, Jesuit Refugee Service. He has riveting stories about the JRS, explaining its history, where it serves, who the Jesuits and their countless volunteers help and how we should get to know and better understand who refugees actually are. Do you know, for example, that many men and women classified as refugees today are degreed people – doctors, teachers, etc. So listen and learn a lot!
Father Smolich also tells us about JRS’ recent a campaign to help a religious minority in Iraq and so much more. I ask Father about his great challenges and his greatest joys – memorable answers!
I took these photos at the JRS center in Rome, not far from the Jesuit international headquarters on Borgo Santo Spirito. I may have to go back and do an interview just about the crosses and crucifixes on one wall in Father’s office as the stories linked to each cross are also JRS stories – stories of refugee’s lives, dreams and hopes.
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POPE TO DOCTORS: REJECT TEMPTATION TO ASSIST AND SUPPORT SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA
In a meeting on Friday with representatives of Italy’s surgeons and dentists, Pope Francis spoke about encountering in their patients, persons who are unique in their dignity and fragility, and not just their illness.
By Robin Gomes (vatiannews)
Pope Francis on Friday urged doctors to reject the temptation to assist and support suicide and euthanasia, reminding them of the Hippocratic oath that calls on them to commit themselves to absolute respect for human life and its sacredness.
“Medicine, by definition, is a service to human life, which involves an essential and indispensable reference to the person in his spiritual and material integrity, in his individual and social dimension. …Hence medicine is at the service of man, of the whole man, of every man,” Pope Francis told some 350 representatives of the National Federation of the Orders of Medical Surgeons and Dentists of Italy.
Vision of the human person
He told them that illness is not a mere clinical fact restricted to medicine alone, but includes the condition of a person, the sick. In this human vision, he said, doctors are called to relate to the patient, taking into consideration his singularity as a person who has an illness, and not just the case of the illness the patient has.
This is why, the Pope said, it is important that “the doctor does not lose sight of the uniqueness of each patient, with his dignity and his fragility. …A man or a woman should be accompanied with conscience, intelligence and heart, especially in the most serious situations.”
“With this attitude,” stated Francis, “we can and must reject the temptation, also induced by legislative changes, to use medicine to support a possible willingness of the patient to die, providing assistance for suicide or directly causing death by euthanasia.”
The Pope said that these are hasty ways of dealing with choices that are not, as they might appear, an expression of the person’s freedom, when they include getting rid of the patient as a possibility, or false compassion in the face of the request to be helped to anticipate death.
Sacredness of human life
In this regard, Pope Francis recalled the “New Charter for Health Care Workers” of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers that says: “There is no right to dispose arbitrarily of one’s life, so no doctor can become an executive guardian of a non-existent right.”
He also recalled his predecessor, Pope Saint John Paul II, who pointed to the intrinsic and indispensable ethical dimension of the health care profession of the Hippocratic oath, according to which “every doctor is asked to commit himself to absolute respect for human life and its sacredness.”