Palliative Care: the Pontifical Academy for Life activities presented in Berlin

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The Pontifical Academy for Life presented on May 23, 2019 in Berlin the German version of PAL-Life - see to the side -, dedicated to the promotion and development of palliative care in the world. The text, written by experts from around the world, presents a series of recommendations filled with the various subjects involved in the development of palliative care.

 The President of the Academy for Life, Mons. Vincenzo Paglia, said that through palliative care we are able to uphold a vision of man that is profoundly religious and fully human at the same time. He has said that this, “perspective of man is the true soul and strength of palliative care”. At this point in time, "I am pleased to present here a White Book that will be sent to Catholic Universities and Hospitals throughout the world to help educate on and initiate the practices of palliative care. Mons. Paglia in Berlin, has said it is “urgent to promote" a culture of palliative care", in order to respond to both the temptations of euthanasia and assisted suicide practices, but above all for the development of a "Culture of care" that allows us to offer loving accompaniment until a patients death”. Mons. Paglia added: "Even if we cannot cure, we can still alleviate pain, suffering, and continue to take care of those who are crossing perhaps the most difficult moment of their existence”. Also, "There have been many times where palliative care has been the agent of recovery in the field of contemporary medicine via the integral accompaniment component of patient care”. 

The president of the Deutsche PalliativStiftung foundation, Dr. Thomas Sitte, said in Berlin: "This White Paper is the result of the consensus of authoritative experts from around the world, which can and must be a practical support for all the organizations that deal with health in any way. This book is therefore a tool for objectively and serenely explaining that in Germany we do not need commercially assisted suicide in order to alleviate suffering. "

Mons. Franz-Josef Bode, President of the Pastoral Commission of the German Bishops' Conference, said that the Weißbuch as a crucial step in the spread of Palliative care. It is our specific duty, as ecclesiastics, to protect the dignity of each person until their death. "In Germany we are witnessing a resumption of the debate on Article 217 of the Criminal Code, which is a debate on whether suicide will be considered a fundamental right and service to which anyone can freely choose. In front of such opposition to the principle of the inviolability of human dignity, we must reiterate strongly what we hold a dignified death to mean as well as our plans to ensure that all those who suffer and cannot be cured are guarantee it “. Mons. Bode has said that, "Christian charity means we stay close to the patients up to the last moment, without abandoning them at the moment when every prospect of recovery is lacking; it means guaranteeing them the best care and alleviation of their pain possible, without postponing or hastening their death with therapeutic measures.” On this point, Bishop Bode stated “the German bishops stress the need for hospices and Palliative care to be widespread in the territory of our country.”  He also added, “That in recent years compassionate care has become an increasingly common practice consolidated in healthcare facilities in Germany.“ The implementation of the Christian idea of accompanying patients at the end of their lives will necessarily have to develop through an inter-professional collaboration between spiritual assistance and health professions and between professionals and volunteers. This vision will come to fruition through fruitful dialogue with the spiritual guidance of the Church and above all from a discovery or rediscovery of the Christian sacraments at the end of life”. Mons. Bode’s closed his remarks by saying, "We bishops, I for one, believe that the gift of sacraments received at Church must also be offered in new ways to the multitude of people who no longer have access to them".