Archbishop Paglia stresses community’s role in palliative care

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has emphasised the role of families and communities in providing palliative care.

Feb 10, 2024

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia

By Stanislaus Alla
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has emphasised the role of families and communities in providing palliative care.

The 78-year-old Vatican official said this recently while addressing the staff and students of Delhi’s Vidyajyoti College of Theology on Ethics about the End-of-life issues.

The archbishop was in India recently where he met the laity, seminarians, clergy, religious, and bishops. While the major focus of his talks were on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the way the Indian Catholic Church has to prepare itself to wrestle with its benefits and threats, the archbishop also discussed issues such as Family, Technology etc., during this visit.

Fr Andrea Ciucci, the coordinating secretary of Pontifical Academy for Life, accompanied the archbishop on his India visit.

Archbishop Paglia also spoke to the laity of the Delhi Archdiocese on the importance of AI and how to appreciate the blessings it brings into people’s lives and how to know when and where to draw the line, thereby avoiding the harm it can do to people, to communities, institutions and structures.

Exploring the end-of-life issues at the meeting at Vidyajyoti and referring to the fact that several millions are in need of palliative care in India today, the Italian archbishop lauded the Church’s personnel and institutions who are involved in caring for the needy through this unique ministry.

Making a distinction between usefulness and value, he reminded the gathering that humans have irreplaceable value, derived from being made in the image and likeness of God, rather than whether one is useful or not. The elderly, the sick, the abandoned, the terminally ill, are in need of attention and accompaniment, the prelate noted.

Imitating the virtues of the Samaritan, who was recognised and identified as ‘Good’ by the others, Christians are challenged to be close to those who are at their end-of-life.

Like a virus, individualism is spreading very quickly, the archbishop reminded, but since we are made for families and communities, our lives find meaning and fulfilment only in such cultural contexts. Institutions do play a vital role in providing palliative care but families and communities are indispensable in caring for the abandoned, it was remarked.

Employing the fraternity-paradigm exhorted by Pope Francis, Archbishop Paglio urged all to move away from a culture of isolation and promote a culture of fraternity, assuring that the palliative care is received best in such a caring and fraternal atmosphere. --Matters India

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