Cardinal calls mentally ill 'faithful images of God'

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan told his World Day of the Sick audience in Adelaide yesterday that while the mentally ill patient "escapes classification as a normal person", he or she remains "an image of God" deserves every normal respect.

Cardinal Barragan, who is President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, was giving the keynote address at the 14th World Day of the Sick, which commenced yesterday and continues until tomorrow.

He praised the bishops of Oceania for making the "timely decision to have the mentally ill person as the key issue for the discussions of this World Day of the Sick".

"This shall undoubtedly spur the Catholic Church to continue the work undertaken and it shall foster dialogue and cooperation with the institutions in charge of such duties in modern societies," he said.

Cardinal Barragan will also preside at the mass at St Francis Xavier's Cathedral at 9:30 am on Saturday. A highlight of the Mass will be the Sacrament of the Blessing of the Sick, in which about 30 sick people chosen from across Adelaide will be involved in a hand-laying ceremony and blessed with holy oil.

Another speaker at the conference associated with the event - Professor Ian Hickie of the University of NSW - called on Australian governments must immediately allocate an extra $500 million each year to non-government agencies to reverse the nation's mental health problems.

Professor Hickie said the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) - meeting today in Canberra - must commit to increasing funding for mental health and to diverting more health funding from public hospitals towards creating stronger partnerships with non-government organisations.

Javier, Cardinal Lozano Barragán: The mentally ill patient: a faithful image of God (Archdiocese of Adelaide 9/2/06)
Global event to be celebrated in Adelaide Cathedral (Archdiocese of Adelaide 9/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Day of the Sick
Apostolic Penitentiary | Decree according to which Special Indulgences are conceded on occasion of the «14th World Day of the Sick» (January 18, 2006)

Vatican cardinal visits Adelaide hospital patients (CathNews 9/2/06)
Speaker to argue mental health reform requires funds for NGOs (CathNews 9/2/06)
Pope authorises indulgences for Adelaide Day of Sick (CathNews 6/2/06)
Church "drawn into politics" by accepting Govt hospitality (CathNews 1/2/06)
Wollongong priest to link mental health with human dignity (CathNews 24/1/06)
Personalities aid World Day of Sick mental illness focus (CathNews 9/1/06)
Pope announces mental health focus for Adelaide World Day of Sick (CathNews 9/12/05)
Adelaide to host World Day of the Sick (CathNews 30/9/05)

Funding boost to non-government agencies vital for mental health reform (Archdiocese of Adelaide 9/2/06)
Adelaide diocese ready to host annual Catholic "World Day of the Sick" 11th February (Fides 8/2/06)
Raising Awareness for the Mentally Ill (Zenit 8/2/06)

10 Feb 2006