Pontificia Academia pro Vita
|The Dignity of the Dying Person|
Proceedings of the Fifth Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for life (Vatican City, February 24-27, 1999)
|2000, Libreria Editrice Vaticana|
|Paperback, pp. 480|
|Language: English |
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"With the theme you have chosen for your reflection, The dignity of the dying, you intend to shed the light of doctrine and wisdom on a frontier that is new and crucial in many ways. The life of the dying and the seriously ill is exposed to many dangers today, at times expressed in forms of dehumanzing treatment, at others in disregard or neglect, which can even reach the point of euthanasia. [...].
I willingly encourage those who promote projects and initiatives to help the seriously ill, people with chronic mental disorders and the dying. If necessary, they should work to adapt social structures to the new needs, so that no dying person will be neclected or left to face death alone and helpless. This is the lesson that many saints have left us over the centuries, and recently Mother Teresa of Calcutta with her caring initiatives. Every diocesian and parish community must be taught to look after its elderly, to care for and visit its sick, at home or in special structures, according to need.
Heightening the awareness of families and hospitals will certainly encourage a more widespread use of palliative care for persons who are seriously ill and dying, in order to alleviate the symptoms of pain and, at the same time, to bring them spiritual comfort through diligent and loving care. New institutions should be established for elderly people who are not self-sufficient but alone, and above all an organized network should be promoted for the financial and moral support of home care: families who want to keep a seriously ill person at home must make sacrifices that are sometimes a very heavy burden" (John Paul II).