December 14, 2009.
Benedict XVI has called for palliative care to help terminally ill patients live their suffering with dignity. He also said they need support.
Leading by example, the pope, visited the Sacred House of Charity in Rome. This small hospital provides free care to terminally ill cancer patients, Alzheimer's and Amyotrophic Lateral sclerosis patients. Here, Benedict XVI lamented that society often marginalizes these patients.
“Today, the prevailing mentality often tends to marginalize these people, considering them a burden and a problem for society. But those who have a sense of human dignity, know that they should be respected and supported as they face the difficulties and distress related to their health.”
The pope has said it is important to give patients concrete expressions of love, closeness and solidarity because they need understanding and ongoing encouragement.
During his visit, Benedict XVI spoke to each patient and their family members telling them that God is close to them to reduce feelings of isolation and transform pain into hope. He also thanked volunteers for their work, dedication and the support they offer patients who are often times marginalized.