Pope Francis called for all healthcare workers to “defend and promote life,” highlighting the often overlooked option of conscientious objection.

Last week the Holy Father met with the Italian Catholic Association of Healthcare Workers at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. He encouraged their continuing commitment to giving pro-life healthcare, saying

“Defend and promote life, starting from those who are most defenseless or in need of assistance because they are sick, or elderly, or marginalized.”

Pope Francis also asked them to consider whether certain medical care, although possible, is ethically and morally sound.

“Any medical practice or intervention on the human being must first be evaluated carefully to see if it actually respects life and human dignity.”

When human life is endangered, one should consider conscientious objection not out of pride or contempt but based “on the personal need not to act differently from one’s own ethical conviction, but also representing a sign for the health care environment in which one finds oneself, as well as for the patients themselves and their families.”

The Holy Father also emphasized the importance of holding strong in the Faith and the importance of prayer: “healing, among other things, passes not only from the body, but also from the spirit.”

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