In Pope Francis’s first appearance since intestinal surgery, he pleaded for free universal healthcare.
The 84-year-old pontiff spoke the crowds from his 10th floor window in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital, one week after undergoing surgery in which part of his colon was removed.
‘I have deeply felt your closeness and the support of your prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,’ he told those in attendance, delighted at keeping his weekly Sunday Angelus appointment, before discussing the need for healthcare for all.
Prior to leading the recitation of the Angelus prayer, the Pope spoke about how Jesus’s disciples anointed those who were in poor health with oil, saying how many will need ‘anointing’ throughout their lives and that there are many things we can do to help. He then spoke about the provision of free healthcare, and how essential it is for everyone across the world.
As per Reuters, he said, ‘In these days that I have been in hospital, I saw once more how important it is to have a good healthcare system that is accessible to all, as it exists in Italy and in other countries.’
‘A health service that is free and guarantees good service accessible to all… this precious good should not be lost. It must be maintained and everyone should be committed to this. Because everyone needs it,’ the Pope continued. He also said economic pressures shouldn’t compromise a nation’s priority of having accessible healthcare.
‘I would like to express my appreciation and my encouragement to the doctors and all the healthcare workers and staff of this and of other hospitals. They work so hard. And let us pray for all the sick. Here there are some friends, sick children… why do children suffer? Why children suffer is a question that touches the heart,’ he said.
‘Accompany them with prayer and pray for all those who are sick, especially for those in the most difficult conditions: may no one be left alone, may everyone receive the anointing of listening, closeness, tenderness and care,’ the pontiff added.
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