“It is essential to multiply palliative care institutions, not only in urban areas but also in rural areas. We have a very modern palliative care centre here in Bucharest, but it is too small. There is one in Cluj, there are still attempts here and there, but every diocese must have at least one palliative care centre,” the Patriarch of Romania said on the eve of the International Day of Older Persons.
The Patriarch addressed the topic at the Palace of the Patriarchate during his 13th enthronement anniversary.
In addition to the wishes addressed, the Minister of European Funds, Marcel Boloș, told Patriarch Daniel about the future “Operational Program for Inclusion and Social Dignity” which will be implemented in the 2021-2027 programming period. With an allocation of 3.5 billion euros, the program aims to support people without material possibilities, those with disabilities and the elderly.
This program is vital, said the Patriarch, expressing gratitude for the fact that “the multitude of philanthropic activities of the Church, for the most part, was supported by local, county and especially central authorities through the State Secretariat for Religious Affairs, and through other ministries.”
“The seniors who have worked all their lives need our love, our respect, and a Christian end that we ask for in prayer every day,” the Patriarch said on September 30, 2020.
Human dignity at the centre of the Church’s attention
Patriarch Daniel said that currently “there is an individualistic-materialist temptation to measure the value of the person according to their immediate productive efficiency.”
“But the Church has other criteria. The Saviour Jesus Christ says, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” The soul of every man is worth more than all the galaxies, more than the whole material universe.”
“That is why the way to prepare the Christian end for those who are suffering and in a terminal state of their life matters a lot. This is not about efficiency but dignity. This dimension of human dignity, of the unique and eternal value of each person is the centre of the Church’s attention”.
“Science has shown that no two people are identical. (…) Why? Because each person has a unique and unmistakable relationship with God the Creator. Each person is solely responsible for his or her way of life in history. And because it is unique, the value is also unique; the responsibility is also unique”.
Europe is dominated by secularized humanism
The Patriarch of Romania drew attention to the fact that these programs appear humanitarian-humanist, but “Europe is still dominated by a secularized humanism”.
“But this humanism was of Judeo-Christian origin,” said the Patriarch, recalling that those who wrote the Charter of Human Rights said they were inspired “by the Prophets and the Gospel.”
“Always, in the cooperation between the State and the Church, the institutions resulting from this cooperation must be motivated not only by a fashion of the day, or the fact that money has been requested for this program and must be spent, but that there are also institutions for cultivating human dignity and communion between generations”.
“All these works of cooperation are necessary, but at the same time, we must show their spiritual side, not only the purely social. Our motivation comes from the Holy Scriptures and the lives of the saints”.
The International Day of Older Persons is marked annually on October 1. It was established in 1990 by the United Nations General Assembly.