Pope in Santiago de Compostela:
BARCELONA, Spain, 7 Nov. 2010.
After dedicating Barcelona’s Church of the Holy Family, Benedict XVI made a stop at Catholic charity that dedicates itself to the care of persons with handicaps. To those present he spoke of what the Christian considers to be the true sanctuary of God: the human person. The Pope said this today upon visiting the “Obra Benefico-Social Nen Deu” (social charity God-Child), a charity of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts that dates back to 1892. At its foundation, Nen Deu dedicated itself to the care of children with special needs, but over the years the charity has grown to include care for children and adults with physical or mental handicaps, as well as programs for the elderly in need of special care. The center that the Pope visited today is the headquarters of the charity, which was inaugurated in 2008. The Holy Father was welcomed today not only by the directors, staff and volunteers of the charity, but also by the children, youth and adults who receive care at Nen Deu, as well as their parents or relatives.
In his address to those present, the Pontiff affirmed that, “for the Christian, every man and woman is a true sanctuary of God, and should be treated with the highest respect and affection, above all when they are in need.” Benedict XVI said that this in this way, “the Church desires to put into practice the words of the Lord in the Gospel, ‘I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ In this land,” he added, “these words of Christ have motivated many sons and daughters of the Church to dedicate their lives to teaching, to works of assistance and the care of the sick and the disabled. Inspired by their example, I ask you to continue to provide loving care to the smallest and the most needy, giving them the very best of yourselves.”
The Pope said that the latest advances in medicine have “greatly contributed to the care of those in greatest need,” and that those advances “have been accompanied by a growing conviction of the importance of dedicated and humane treatment for the positive outcome of the healing process. It is indispensable,” the Pontiff affirmed, “that new technological developments in the field of medicine never be to the detriment of respect for human life and dignity, so that those who suffer physical illnesses or handicaps can always receive that love and attention required to make them feel valued as persons in their concrete needs.”
Turning to the children present, Benedict XVI gave thanks to God for their lives, which he said are “so precious in [God’s] eyes.” He added, “I assure you that you have a special place in the Pope’s heart. I pray for you every day and I ask you to help me by means of your prayers so that I may faithfully fulfill the mission entrusted to me by Christ.” The Pontiff added that he also remembers in his prayers “those who are dedicated to helping the suffering, and those who work tirelessly so that the handicapped can take their rightful place in society and not be marginalized because of their limitations. In this respect,” he said, “I wish to recognize, in a special way, the faithful witness of priests and those who visit the sick at home, in hospitals or in other specialized institutions. They incarnate that important ministry of consolation in the face of human frailty, which the Church seeks to carry out in imitation of the Good Samaritan.”