"The Church holds that all human life, both before and after birth, has inherent dignity, and that health care providers have the corresponding duty to respect the dignity of all their patients. * In that paper, I suggested the following definition: "The church is a communion, but as such it is a sign and servant of what God is doing on a larger scale, reconciling the whole cosmos in Christ, the coming of the Kingdom of God. Working often with scarce resources and little financial support, their dedication gives powerful testimony to God's love for the poor, the sick and the deprived. For the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccine eligibility click here. . Health care is not just the church's responsibility; it is also an inevitable expression of its relationship to Jesus Christ, both as follower and participant in his own life. This transformation of attitude has been in constant evidence in the church through the centuries; it grows in each Christian's life, so that his or her approach to the sick and suffering is increasingly the same as Jesus Christ's approach to the sick of his day. Health care is a basic good that is due to each person. It has around 18,000 clinics, 16,000 homes for the elderly and those with special needs, and 5,500 hospitals – with 65% of them located in developing countries. The Ethical Dimension If that be true, it is clear why Pope John Paul II would say to us that no crisis in providing and funding Catholic health care can be "allowed to compromise the Church's fundamental commitment. One could also say something here about the way individual workers in Catholic health care institutions treat patients and the families of patients, and about the respect health care workers have for patients as their equals—even, at times, as privileged—because of their suffering. It has around 18,000 clinics, 16,000 homes for the elderly and those with special needs, and 5,500 hospitals – with 65% of them located in developing countries. The loss of Catholic hospitals and health care providers, which currently do more to provide pro bono services to the poor and the marginalized than their for-profit counterparts, would be a tremendous blow to the already strained health care system in our country. Pastoral Care is the unconditional caring response to the lonely, shut-ins, the sick and dying to meet their spiritual needs, being respectful of their own religious beliefs and practice. Exploring the link between evangelization and Catholic health care, Fr. The Catholic Church’s teaching concerning health care is rooted, like the rest of its social teaching, in the principle of the dignity of the human person. "The Church holds that all human life, both before and after birth, has inherent dignity, and that health care providers have the corresponding duty to respect the dignity of all their patients. Nine years ago, I presented a paper at an executive workshop sponsored by the St. John of God Health Care System, which is based in Perth, Western Australia. The Catholic understanding of healthcare is rooted in the basic scriptural understanding that the healing mission of Jesus touched people at the deepest level of their existence, and he sought their physical, mental and spiritual healing. The ministry of the Church of Oceania is for many people the most visible and tangible proof of God's love. At that 1994 conference, Francis Sullivan, the CEO of Catholic Health Australia,* said, concerning the particular contribution of Catholic health care to the mission of the church: *Catholic Health Australia, that nation's counterpart to the Catholic Health Association of the United States, represents more than 680 Catholic health care sponsors, systems, facilities, and related organizations and services. The Catholic Church, with over 117,000 health centers, is the largest private providers of HIV/AIDS care. Making Present the Compassion of Christ It is clear that everyone recognizes that Catholic health care is both a response to and a continuation of the healing and compassionate ministry of Jesus Christ. (202) 296-3993, 4455 Woodson Road At the same time, we have to acknowledge that these great goals of Catholic health care will only be reached if we ensure that our planning, our formation of staff, and our policies are directed toward these goals. 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