WASHINGTON, February 5, 2003 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In his message for the eleventh World Day of the Sick, to be celebrated this year in Washington on February 11, Pope John Paul II said that "Catholics working in the field of health care have the urgent task of doing all they can to defend life when it is most seriously threatened and to act with a conscience correctly formed according to the teaching of the Church."

In a warning for the Americas, the Pope said: "On the continents of North and South America, as elsewhere in the world, "a model of society appears to be emerging in which the powerful predominate, setting aside and even eliminating the powerless: I am thinking here of unborn children, helpless victims of abortion; the elderly and incurable ill, subjected at times to euthanasia; and the many other people relegated to the margins of society by consumerism and materialism." In this context, John Paul II also mentioned the "unnecessary recourse to the death penalty." He charged that "This model of society bears the stamp of the culture of death, and is therefore in opposition to the Gospel message." Concluding that, "Faced with this worrying fact, how can we fail to include the defence of the culture of life among our pastoral priorities?".

The Pope's message also touched on embryo research and euthanasia. "Thus it is never licit to kill one human being in order to save another. And while palliative treatment in the final stage of life can be encouraged, avoiding a "treatment at all costs" mentality, it will never be permissible to resort to actions or omissions which by their nature or in the intention of the person acting are designed to bring about death."
See the full message for the World Day of the Sick:

Saint Charbel for Life
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