Today was one of those days when time required me to be out of the office more than I was in and at my desk. In late afternoon, I taped an on-location episode of “Bookmark” with Doug Keck, part of a longer afternoon “on location.”
It is fairly late now but here are the stories that made the news today.
RESPECT FOR THE HUMAN PERSON FROM CONCEPTION TO NATURAL DEATH
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday speaking to the members of the Italian Committee for Bioethics, underlined how the Church supports the efforts of civil society to promote, “the search for truth and goodness on complex human and ethical issues”.
He told those gathered that the Church had a sensitivity to ethical issues, adding that, “the Church did not claim any privileged voice in this field.” But he highlighted the importance of serving man, all men and women with special attention and care, from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, who are struggling find the their voice.
On this level, he said, “the ecclesial community and civil society meet and are called to cooperate, in accordance with their distinct skills. ”
The Pope noted the fact that the Committee “had repeatedly dealt with the respect for the integrity of the human being and the protection of health from conception to natural death, considering the person in his singularity, always as an end and never simply as a means “:
He added that “this ethical principle was also crucial with regard to biotechnology applications in the medical field, which may never be used in a manner detrimental to human dignity, or guided solely by industrial or commercial purposes”.
Bioethical research on complex issues, the Pope emphasized, is not easy and does not always quickly reach a harmonious conclusion; it always requires humility and realism, he said.
Concluding his address, the Holy Father stressed three specific areas in which he wanted to encourage the committee’s work.
The first was the interdisciplinary analysis of the causes of environmental degradation.
The Pope said, he hoped that the Committee would formulate guidelines, in areas that concern the life sciences, to stimulate actions of conservation, preservation and care of the environment essential for future generations.
Secondly, he highlighted the issue of disability and marginalization of vulnerable groups, in a society he said, tending towards competition, and the acceleration of progress.
The culture of waste
Pope Francis stressed the importance and challenge of tackling what he called “the culture of waste,” which, he underlined had many forms, such as treating human embryos and even the sick and elderly who are approaching death as disposable materials.
Thirdly, the Holy Father encouraged the committee to work towards increasing dialogue internationally, even if, he said, that presented difficulties, in order to reach a harmonization of biological and medical standards and rules so that they are able to recognize core values and fundamental rights.
POPE FRANCIS MEETS ACTOR AND ENVIRONMENTALIST DICAPRIO
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday met with actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio.
The actor gave the Pope a book of art from the Dutch Renaissance painter, Hieronymus Bosch, and at the end of the encounter, DiCaprio kissed the Pope’s ring, and, in Italian, thanked the Holy Father for meeting with him.
DiCaprio addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this month, calling on business leaders to do more to fight global warming, and announcing The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is donating $15 million to environmental projects.
NAZARETH TO HOST 24TH WORLD DAY OF THE SICK
(VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the 24th World Day of the Sick, to be celebrated in Nazareth in the Holy Land on 11 February, feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, on the theme “Entrusting oneself to the merciful Jesus like Mary: ‘Do whatever he tells you’”, based on the account of the wedding at Cana according to the Gospel of St. John.
The panel was composed of Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (Health Pastoral Care), Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu, secretary of the same dicastery, Rev. Fr. Augusto Chendi, under-secretary, Rev. Fr. Pietro Felet, S.C.I., secretary general of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land and local referent for the organisation of the World Day of the Sick 2016.
The place where this annual Day will be held – Nazareth, in the Holy Land – is the first point to highlight, said Archbishop Zimowski. Nazareth is the place of the incarnation, where Jesus began His salvific mission and in Galilee cured many people, as is narrated in the Gospel of St. Mark, read in these days, in which Christ calls to the sick to heal them and, in turn, is called to by them. “In a certain sense we are all constantly called upon, although each person in a different way,” explained the prelate. “The human being suffers in different places and, at times, suffers terribly. He calls to another person as he is in need of his help and his presence. At times we are intimidated by the fact of not being able to heal, of not being able to help like Jesus. Let us try to overcome this embarrassment. The important thing is to keep going, to stay beside the man who suffers. He needs, perhaps more than healing, the presence of another person, of a human heart full of mercy, of human solidarity.”
Click here for press conference: http://www.news.va/en/news/presentation-of-the-world-day-of-the-sick