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Cardinal Opens MaterCare Maternal Health Care Conference in Rome

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
27 Sep 2013

MaterCare International provides help to numerous women in African villages-especially Kenya

In a special video recording, Cardinal Pell has opened MaterCare International's 10th conference in Rome in which he emphasised the value and significance of the organisation's assistance in maternal health care for the  helping the poor and struggling cannot be overstated.

Titled "Catholicism and Maternal Health Care" , the conference took place at the conclusion of the Year of Faith; the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 25th anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem, Pope John Paul 11's groundbreaking encyclical on the dignity of women.

Cardinal Pell said in his address; " Each of these events for different reasons, resonates with the distinctive work and mission of MaterCare International.

The Church gives thanks for the presence and witness of an organisation of midwives and obstetricians so dedicated to defending the lives and health of women and children."

Many women and babies saved with the assistance of MaterCare International

MaterCare is an international group of Catholic obstetricians and gynaecologists, with a preferencial option for mothers and babies, both born and unborn, especially in developing countries.

Cardinal Pell said; "Maternal health care is a kind of "meeting point" where the struggle takes place between the culture of life and the culture of death.

It is where we are called ton uphold the dignity of all, to ensure that the poor5 are supported in having their babies, not just the well off. Sadly, there are many government agencies and NGOs willing to provide a poor and illiterate woman with an abortion, contraception or sterilisation, but few willing to give her the care and support which pregnant mothers in the West rightly expect."

In  his address the Cardinal also spoke of the work Matercare is doing in Isiola, Kenya with the establishment of a new maternity hospital, the training of local midwives, setting up birth centres and providing surgery and other rehabilitation for women who have suffered injuries due to lack of skilled care during childbirth.

During the conference Pope Francis also met with conference doctors and health care workers to congratulate them in their fight against today's anti-life4 culture, stressing there is no true development without openness to life.

The achievements of MaterCare International in developing countries has been recognised worldwide

Pope Francis noted that in today's "paradoxical situation" a doctor risks losing his/her natural identity as the servant of life. The Pope lamented that while attributing to the person new rights, that sometimes are also presumed, life is not always safeguarded as the primary and primordial right of every person. "The final objective of doctor is always the defense and promotion of life," the Pope said, calling on professionals and health workers, especially gynecologists to collaborate in the birth of new life.

The Pope noted that a widespread mentality of utility and the 'culture of waste" that enslaves the heart and intelligence of many, calls for the elimination of human beings especially if they are physically and socially very weak.

Stressing that "the first right of a human person is his life" the Pope said that human life in its totality has become a priority of the Catholic Church, particularly those largely defenseless, such as the disabled, the sick, the unborn, the child and the elderly.

In this anti-life mentality, the Pope reminded the conference participants that the credibility of a healthcare system is not measured only on its efficiency, but above all for its attention and love for persons for people whose life is always sacred and inviolable.