Pope Francis: Vulnerability threatens the ‘culture of efficiency’


Pope Francis blesses a young woman during a general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall in December 2022. / Vatican Media.

Rome Newsroom, Jan 10, 2023 / 05:00 am (CNA).

Sickness and vulnerability is scary because it is a threat to the culture of efficiency, Pope Francis said on Tuesday, in a message published ahead of the World Day of the Sick.

“We are rarely prepared for illness. Oftentimes, we fail even to admit that we are getting older,” the pope said Jan. 10. “Our vulnerability frightens us and the pervasive culture of efficiency pushes us to sweep it under the carpet, leaving no room for our human frailty.”

“We are all fragile and vulnerable, and need that compassion which knows how to pause, approach, heal, and raise up. Thus, the plight of the sick is a call that cuts through indifference and slows the pace of those who go on their way as if they had no sisters and brothers,” he said.

The Catholic Church will mark the 31st annual World Day of the Sick on Feb. 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in southwestern France is associated with the sick because of the presence of a miraculous spring from which many people have obtained physical healing.

This year’s papal message is titled “Take care of him: Compassion as a synodal exercise of healing.”

“It is not only what functions well or those who are productive that matter,” Pope Francis said. “Sick people, in fact, are at the center of God’s people, and the Church advances together with them as a sign of a humanity in which everyone is precious and no one should be discarded or left behind.”

He said it is crucial that the whole Church strive to follow the example of the Good Samaritan.

Just as the Samaritan asked the innkeeper to take care of the wounded man, “Jesus addresses the same call to each of us,” Francis said.

Pope Francis greets a woman in a wheelchair in Rome's Piazza di Spagna on Dec. 8, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis greets a woman in a wheelchair in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna on Dec. 8, 2022. Vatican Media

“As I noted in Fratelli Tutti, ‘The parable shows us how a community can be rebuilt by men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject the creation of a society of exclusion, and act instead as neighbors, lifting up and rehabilitating the fallen for the sake of the common good’ (No. 67),” he said.

“Indeed,” the pope continued, “‘we were created for a fulfillment that can only be found in love. We cannot be indifferent to suffering’ (No. 68).”

Pope Francis also noted that sickness and weakness are part of the human journey, thus, it can be an act of synodality to walk together in community with those who are suffering.

“I invite all of us to reflect on the fact that it is especially through the experience of vulnerability and illness that we can learn to walk together according to the style of God, which is closeness, compassion, and tenderness,” he said.

Pope Francis also addressed the role injustice plays in the lack of access to adequate medical care which many people experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, showed the limits of existing public welfare systems.

“It is no longer easy to distinguish the assaults on human life and dignity that arise from natural causes from those caused by injustice and violence,” he said.

“In fact,” he continued, “increasing levels of inequality and the prevailing interests of the few now affect every human environment to the extent that it is difficult to consider any experience as having solely ‘natural’ causes. All suffering takes place in the context of a ‘culture’ and its various contradictions.”

“Gratitude, then, needs to be matched by actively seeking, in every country, strategies and resources in order to guarantee each person’s fundamental right to basic and decent healthcare,” the pope said.

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1 Comment

  1. I am elated at Pope Francis’ plan to set up a Catholic global welfare and healthcare program for the poor, financed by tithing Christians. I figure a tithe on our 2 billion Christians is over a trillion dollars a year, which is presently, mostly, going to waste. Christian, God Commanded tithing, is our King Jesus Christ’s, Christian Divine Justice, welfare program, through which Jesus loves the least of His brothers.

    Jesus never condemned Caesar on his wars, crucifixions, or welfare programs. Caesar would have killed Jesus if He had done so. Instead, Jesus gave His followers parables like, The Sheep and the Goats, The Rich man and Lazerous, and told the rich man to sell everything and come and follow Him, if he wished to enter into eternal life. God Commands His Faithful to tithe to care for the needs of the poor.

    Jesus certainly backs up, with Divine Justice, Pope Francis’ plan to have Christ’s Church, finally, set up healthcare for all, and not just Vatican City State, and finance it with Christian tithing.

    MATTHEW 25:41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink… …’Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    LUKE 16:19 The Rich Man and Lazarus
    “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.

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