In an address to 500 participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Health Care, Pope Benedict XVI said that Christians must “defend and promote life, whatever its state and condition, recognizing the dignity and value of each individual human being.”
The Pope spoke at some length about the meaning of human suffering, which “seems to obscure the face of God.” He argued that “the eyes of faith can see into the depths of this mystery.”
When Jesus took on human flesh, and endured human pain, He raised the understanding of suffering to a new level, the Pope said. “Suffering seems to belong to man’s transcendence,” he said.
The Pontifical Council had devoted its assembly to discussion of the teaching and witness of Blessed John Paul II, and Pope Benedict observed that the late Pope served as a personal example of the Christian approach. “The slow Calvary of the final years of life of Blessed John Paul II bore witness to this vision of pain and suffering illuminated by the death and resurrection of Christ,” he said. In his final illness, he added, Pope John Paul II was able “to address an even more eloquent message to the world, even when his physical strength was failing.”