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Pope Francis: Message for Day of the Sick, life is not a “private property”, no to “manipulation”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

“Life is a gift from God”. This is why “human life cannot be reduced to a personal possession or private property, especially in the light of medical and biotechnological advances that could tempt us to manipulate the tree of life”. Pope Francis wrote this in his Message for the World Day of the Sick, which will be solemnly celebrated in Calcutta on 11 February, the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. “Generous gestures like that of the Good Samaritan are the most credible means of evangelization”, Pope Francis began, stressing that “caring for the sick requires professionalism, tenderness, straightforward and simple gestures freely given, like a caress that makes others feel loved”. “Amid today’s culture of waste and indifference – the Pope remarked-, I would point out that ‘gift’ is the category best suited to challenging today’s individualism and social fragmentation, while at the same time promoting new relationships and means of cooperation between peoples and cultures”. “Dialogue – the premise of gift – creates possibilities for human growth and development capable of breaking through established ways of exercising power in society”, Pope Francis explained. “Gift”, according to the Pontiff, “means more than simply giving presents: it involves the giving of oneself, and not simply a transfer of property or objects. ‘Gift’ differs from gift-giving because it entails the free gift of self and the desire to build a relationship”. “Gift is”, first of all, “the acknowledgement of others, which is the basis of society”: “‘Gift’ is a reflection of God’s love”, the Pope explained, “which culminates in the incarnation of the Son and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit”.

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