Pope Francis received, on Monday morning, at the Santa Marta House in the Vatican, officials of the International Federation of Catholic Pharmacists.
Pope Francis said the coronavirus pandemic has put pharmacists, so to speak, on the front lines. Citizens, often lost, have found in you a point of reference in order to obtain help, advice, and information and, as we well know, to be able to quickly perform the tests necessary for daily life and activities. I think this crisis situation has also triggered in your professional environment the need to “cluster”, to support each other. This should be a catalyst for the union. I therefore congratulate your Union for being able to read this crisis as an opportunity and to re-launch the value of the associative commitment, typical of the Catholic tradition.
Pope Francis added, according to a word published by the official page of the Vatican, today, that he wants to return to your social role. Pharmacists are a “bridge” between citizens and the health system. This is very bureaucratic, and what’s more, the epidemic has exposed him to a severe ordeal, slowing, if not paralyzing, procedures. Significantly, for the sick person this entails greater difficulties, greater suffering, and, unfortunately, more damage to his health. In this context, the class of pharmacists makes a double contribution to the common good: it eases the burden on the health system and relieves social tension. Of course, this role must be played with great wisdom and professional seriousness, but for people, the aspect of proximity, advice, and familiarity that must characterize health care, all these are very important.
Pope Francis continued: There is another aspect that I would like to mention, which also has social and cultural value, and that is the contribution that pharmacists can make in order to return to an integrated ecology. We are all called to learn a way of life more respectful of the environment in which God has placed us, our common home. In this way of life also enters the proper way of eating and way of living in general. I think pharmacists can also educate people about this, and promote greater wisdom in living a healthy life. In this you can take inspiration from the millenarian traditions that go back here in Europe to the ancient pharmacies of the monasteries. But today, by the grace of God, these roots can be enriched with the knowledge and practices of other cultures, such as the Oriental cultures or the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. And therefore I would like to say that you pharmacists can help us unmask the illusion of false luxury and teach us a true ‘good life’, which is not a privilege of a few but is within the reach of all.
Pope Francis concluded his speech by saying: I wish you all the best in your work and in your associative journey. I bless you with all my heart and entrust you to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and your intercessor, Saint John Leonardi. And please don’t forget to pray for me.