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A child gives Pope Francis a drawing during a meeting with staff and patients from the Bambino Gesù paediatric hospital in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall on Saturday (CNS/Vatican Media)

Cutting-edge science and medical research cannot benefit only the privileged few but must be placed at the service of those most in need, Pope Francis said on Saturday. Source: NCR Online.

Meeting with the staff and patients from the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù paediatric hospital in Rome, the Pope stressed the importance of “excellence in biomedical research”, but said it must be done “with special attention to the most fragile, such as patients with serious, rare or ultra-rare diseases”.

The Pope told them that due to persistent cold symptoms, an aide – Msgr Filippo Ciampanelli – would read his speech.

“So that science and expertise do not remain the privilege of the few, I urge you to continue to make the fruits of your research available to all, especially where they are most needed,” he said, praising the hospital for its training programs with doctors and nurses from Africa and Asia.

The Pope was greeted with applause and cheers from the many children present as he entered the Paul VI Audience Hall using a wheelchair. Vatican News reported that among the approximately 200 children and parents were children from countries at war, such as Ukraine and Gaza, who are receiving treatment at Bambino Gesù that they were unable to get in their home countries.

Some adults in the crowd were dressed as clowns with red noses and wearing lab coats; Francis was given his own red nose while greeting the crowd after his speech.

Francis said that when he visits the Bambino Gesù hospital he feels the contrasting sensations of pain and hope.

“I feel pain for the suffering of the sick children and of their parents, but at the same time I feel a great hope seeing all that is done there to cure them,” he said.

In February, the Vatican signed an agreement to move the hospital to the site of a closed Italian hospital by 2030. The new location will give the children’s hospital at least four times as much space for patient rooms, clinics, offices and research labs.


Medical advances must be at service of those most in need, Pope says (By Justin McLellan, OSV News via NCR Online)