11 June 1984

To the participants in the Fourth World Congress for Bronchology

On Monday, 11 June, Pope John Paul II received in audience in the Consistory Hall some four hundred participants in the Fourth World Congress for Bronchology.  Following is the text of the Holy Father’s address delivered in English.

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you today to the Vatican and to have this opportunity to meet you during the Fourth World Congress for Bronchology.

Your visit to the Pope in the context of your Congress manifests on your part an acute awareness of the spiritual and religious dimension of the human person who is the beneficiary of your scientific knowledge.  For me it is an opportunity to reaffirm something I wrote in the recent Apostolic Letter on human suffering, that “everyone who stops beside the suffering of another person, whatever form it may take, is a Good Samaritan” (Salvifici Doloris, 28). Herein lies the reason for the Church’s deep gratitude for all that you are doing in the fight to alleviate and cure illness.

Today I have the opportunity to encourage you in your specific research in the area of Bronchology.  Your present Congress is the fourth in a series that began in Tokyo in 1978 under the leadership of your Honorary President, Professor Ikeda.  After a second Congress in Dusseldorf and a third in San Diego, you are now gathered here in Rome to discuss the most recent developments in your field.  This you will do with the highest technical competence and skill.

Allow me also to highlight another and more general aspect of your professional activity which gives you at times a privileged insight into the world of human suffering.  How often, when you come close to suffering, are you not struck by the presence of a deeper, pervasive dimension that is not merely “psychological” but a truly “spiritual” response to pain, a reflection of the unique transcendent nature of every human being.

It is the Church’s hope, and the object of her endeavours in various fields, that the progress of scientific and technological knowledge will always be accompanied by a parallel advance in respect for the inestimable dignity and spiritual dimension of every individual.  Each one of us, in his or her own heart and activity is called to be a “Good Samaritan”.  We are called to be like that figure described by Jesus who provided for the needs of his neighbour.  We are called in other words to make a personal and active commitment to the alleviation of the needs of our brothers and sisters.

May God’s gifts be with each one of you in your dutiful service to the health and well-being of the human family.  In my prayers I gladly commend to God the success of your Congress and I invoke upon you and your families his blessing of joy and peace.

John Paul II