During Health Care Council's 21st Global Congress
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican's health care council will explore the spiritual side of caring for those with infectious diseases this fall.
The Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry announced that the dicastery's 21st International Conference, to be held in the Vatican from Nov. 23-25, will be focused on the theme "The Pastoral Aspects of the Treatment of Infectious Diseases."
In presenting the conference on the dicastery's Web page, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragбn, president of the council, said that the conference is intended to "make known the magisterium of the Church as regards the spiritual and moral aspects of these diseases."
"At the same time it is our intention to help ... all those who dedicate themselves to pastoral care in health in the world to understand better the spiritual and moral aspects of infectious diseases and to provide better care both to those sick people who are suffering and to those who look after them," he continued.
As in previous years, the conference will be organized in three parts: reality, illumination and action.
The conference will first discuss the reality of infectious diseases, beginning with today's most common infectious diseases, and then with those that are emerging or reemerging in the world.
Origins of diseases will be examined, especially with regard to human behavior, lifestyles, food and diet, the weakening of the immune system, demography and migration.
Technological changes will be discussed, along with industrial changes and the variations and adaptations of bacteria.
The conference will also address the political side: the suspension of public health care provisions and the weakening of health care systems, as well as the effect of war and terrorism on the spread of infectious disease.
Ecological concerns will also be taken into account, especially pollution of the environmental and water systems.
"In order to illuminate this subject, the conference will pose the question: How should these diseases be approached from a Christian point of view?" said Cardinal Lozano Barragбn.
In providing the answers, the conference "will refer to revelation as it is presented in Holy Scripture, to the fathers and to the history of the Church, as well as to theological reflection," added the cardinal.
"We will then pay special attention to the witness of saints who dedicated their lives to the treatment of sick people who were afflicted by these pathologies and we will reflect on epidemics and Christian hope, on Christian responsibility and infectious diseases, as well as on its ethical aspects," he added.
To broaden the discussion, "the points of view of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and contemporary postmodernity will be expounded."
Cardinal Lozano Barragбn said that the conference will try to answer the question, "what should we do?"
They will study solutions that focus not only on the level of individual pastoral care, but also on the level of culture, psychology, medical science and research, and politics.