All pastoral care is justified by the goal of giving Christian meaning to the life experiences of all men. Pastoral care in health is rooted in the belief that ‘when suffering enters his life’, the human person becomes in a special way the way of the Church (Salvifici Doloris, n. 3).
‘The grave problems that today affect the world of health and health care are not only and principally the problems of assistance. In the epochal change that we are going through, in the widespread fall of fundamental values that gave rise to our culture of death, we should construct a new culture where fundamental human events, birth, living and dying, rediscover their original Christian meaning which makes them events of people and not of things, events of salvation and of sanctification. The world of health and health care requires the presence of a cultural force that is able to restore to it its authentic face. The Camillian Order, albeit in an awareness of the limits of its means, has addressed with courage the cultural challenge of the world of health and health care because here by now the future of assistance is at stake’ (P. E. Spogli).
Amongst the various opportunities for the animation of pastoral care in health, the Order makes available the Camillianum Institute of the Theology of Pastoral Care in Health (with courses leading to a licence and a PhD, and its publications, in particular the review Camillianum and the Dictionary of the Theology of Pastoral Care in Health) and eighteen centres for pastoral care (or humanisation) throughout the world.
Although the strategies adopted vary, being attentive to the contexts to which they belong and the sensibilities of the interlocutors, the academic and educational proposal of the Camillianum and the centres for pastoral care (or humanisation) is a shared one: the anthropology of reference where the divine is incarnate in the human and expresses itself through the human; a recognition of the importance of relationships; the belief that the response to the overall needs of those who suffer and seek healing can only take place with the sharing of the various professionals and in solidarity with all those who work in this field; the daily discovery that the questions and issues ‘specific to the Camillian charism’ are very rich and open to ever new proposals at the level of formation; and being careful to care for the frailest people in their totality.
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