The Bishops of England and Wales have called for society to “cultivate kindness” in its treatment of the sick after a year of pain and suffering.
Noting the extraordinary healthcare challenges facing the world this year, Bishop of the Forces and Lead Bishop for Healthcare Paul Mason outlined the theme of the World Day of the Sick this year. The CBCEW’s theme is taken from Christ’s teaching against hypocrisy – we should “remember that we ‘are all brothers'”.
The theme draws on Pope Francis’s message about the Good Samaritan in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, which illustrates “how a community can be rebuilt by men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject the creation of a society of exclusion, and act instead as neighbours, lifting up and rehabilitating the fallen for the sake of the common good.” (Fratelli Tutti, 67)
“We we bring to mind all those who are suffering at this time of pandemic,” Mason wrote, “including those afflicted with Covid-19, those for whom treatments and therapies have been delayed or postponed, the mentally ill, the lonely and isolated, those working on the frontline, and the countless thousands of others who have made quiet and selfless acts of sacrifice.”
“We remember and pray especially for those who have died in this last year and their loved ones who mourn them,” he continued.
Mason noted that he brotherhood of man is a reminder that “we are social beings”. Christ’s caution “against hypocrisy is also an encouragement towards kindness,” he added.
“The pandemic has brought an urgent need for society to take up this call to cultivate kindness, particularly in our treatment of the sick,” the statement read.
Bound to the sick and suffering by their “vulnerability”, Mason wrote, we must “cherish, honour and respect”, the trust they place in us. “Though their illness may seem to transform them, their God-given dignity always remains,” he wrote.
In light of the coming season of lent, “we will recall the suffering” and resurrection of Christ.
“We pray to Our Lady of Lourdes to cover us with her mantle of love, and to give us grace in suffering and healing in sickness.”