May 13, 2012. (Romereports.com)
According to the World Health Organization, four percent of the global population has a vision disability. There are some 39 million blind people and about 246 million more have impaired vision. On February 11, 1985 John Paul II
established the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers.
It serves as the Vatican department that aids the training and studies inhealth
care. Their most recent conference was this one held at the Vatican on the topic of blindness.
“The sense of solidarity, closeness, and fraternity can not be destroyed or separated based on a person's health, in no way diminishing the value of human beings," said cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. "We need to support people living with this, who have a disease and not lose hope or sense of dignity,” added.
This congress was attended by doctors, different associations for the blind and leaders of pharmaceutical and biomedical companies. They discussed the newest research toward finding a cure for blindness and the affect it would have on medicine, the economy, and society at large.
President, International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (Italy)
“That the Catholic Church has paid attention to the blind of the world is a fantastic thing because there are still prejudices in society. The blind are people like anyone else and should be treated as such.”
The congress also presents the newest initiatives that are meant to make life easier for blind people. Such as these two relief paintings that allows people to feel the different curves and shapes of the art, if they can't see it.
Msgr. Roberto Brunelli
Director, Diocesan Museum of Mantua (Italy)
“We have put on display our relief paintings. Each artwork is accompanied by a document in Braille and an audio guide, with a voice that explains the objects.”
Many of the world's 39 million blind people don't have equal access to many things like public parks and spaces. But with the help of this Vatican congress, they're working to help the blind overcome any obstacles they face.