Adelaide service focuses on global mental health problems

More than 1000 people flocked to an historic Catholic service in Adelaide's St Francis Xavier's Cathedral on Saturday marking the 14th World Day of the Sick.

Papal emissary Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, presided at the Mass, which was attended by about 1200 people in Adelaide, South Australia.

Relaying the greetings of Pope Benedict XVI, he said in his homily that the celebration of the World Day of the Sick "places the mentally ill people at the centre of our attention".

He said that protecting the inviolable dignity of the mentally ill means "going to the root of the problem".

Cardinal Barragan identified several of the causes of mental illness, including war, human rights abuse, and family breakdown.

"It means attending to the system of values," he said. "Since mental illness is a disequilibrium, any distortion in the system of values that sustain a person generates personal disequilibrium."

More than 25 bishops from Italy, Australia, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea were in attendance. A highlight of the Mass was the Sacrament of the Blessing of the Sick, in which about 30 sick people chosen from across Adelaide were blessed with holy oil by Cardinal Lozano Barragan and Archbishop Wilson.

Pope Benedict chose Adelaide to host for the first time the fourteenth World Day of the Sick, which he themed "mental health and human dignity". The Holy Father described mental health as "a real and authentic social-health care emergency".

World Day of the Sick was inaugurated by Pope John Paul II in 1992 to focus attention on human suffering and the vital role of carers of the sick and elderly. It is held each year on a different continent on Feb 11 - the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, whose shrine in France has become a temple of human suffering

Adelaide Catholic service focuses on global mental health problems (Archdiocese of Adelaide 11/2/06)
Cardinal Javier Barragan: Homily for the XIV World Day of the Sick (St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide, 11/2/06)

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)

Cardinal calls mentally ill 'faithful images of God' (CathNews 10/2/06)
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)

B16: The Mental Health Pope (Whispers in the Loggia 11/2/06)
Cardinal George Pell: We can do more to help our mentally sick (Sunday Telegraph 12/2/06)
Adelaide MP condemns Church-State links (The Tablet 11/2/06)
Adelaide: la celebrazione conclusiva della XIV Giornata Mondiale del Malato (L'Osservatore Romano 12/2/06)

13 Feb 2006