Rome (Agenzia Fides) - The Italian Religious Association of Social-Health Institutes ARIS marked its 40 years of activity with a conference in Rome attended by about one hundred members of ARIS from all over Italy. Talks yesterday were given by Senator for Life Giulio Andreotti and the Under Secretary of the Health Ministry, Cesare Cursi. The Church in Italy was represented by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope’s vicar for the diocese of Rome also president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, and Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral. Chief Rabbi in Rome Riccardo Di Segni, announced that the Jewish Hospital in Rome will become a member of ARIS, to demonstrate the shared sensitivity of the Jewish and Christian religions towards those who suffer. A gesture of eloquent symbolic value at the present time.
In his address Cardinal Ruini said: “the forty years of life for ARIS have their roots in the work of Jesus who healed the sick and in his command to his disciples. This is why, from the beginning the Church has engaged indifferent forms of assistance to the sick. In our own day it suffices to mention the work of St. Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo and Blessed Mother Teresa di Calcutta”. Andreotti spoke of the tradition of religious health-care in Italy recalling that “even Luther on a visit to Rome criticised everything except Holy Spirit Hospital”.
Hon. Sirchia also spoke of the traditional health care and he said the main problem facing the national health system is to keep step with changing society.. “a first strategic change is to reorganise health care to corrects its defects. This we have begun with excellent results. We see that collaboration between institutions is the right path and today it is possible thanks to a new atmosphere which has overcome institutional conflicts which until a few years ago prevented intervention in Health. The present time is delicate: growing needs must faced by the regions in situations of economic difficulty.” (AP) (26/11/2003 Fides Service; lines:34 words:431)