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Pope makes plea on behalf of the mentally ill

    John Paul II appealed to all Christians to give special attention to the mentally ill, the subject of Saturday's World Health Day 2001, overseen by the World Health Organisation.
    "On this occasion, I renew my appeal so that each one, in keeping with his responsibilities, will be committed to defend the dignity and rights of mentally ill patients," the Pope told the 15,000 pilgrims who attended the general audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday.
    "No one must remain indifferent in face of these brothers of ours," the Holy Father concluded. "The Church looks upon those who suffer from this sickness with respect and affection, and exhorts the whole human community to accept them, giving special attention to the poorest and most abandoned."
    In a statement, the World Health Organisation explained that the main goal of World Health Day is to stimulate public debate on how to improve mental health around the world.