Pope Benedict: Health Care Is One Of The "Inalienable Rights" Of Man

November 19, 2010 2:22 pm ET — Walid Zafar

During a recent Vatican conference, Pope Benedict XVI, who has long complained of the "the scandal of glaring [economic] inequalities," reaffirmed the church's long-standing position on health care, saying that "health justice should be among the priorities of governments and international institutions." 

As the Catholic News Service reports:

Pope Benedict XVI and other church leaders said it was the moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens, regardless of social and economic status or their ability to pay.

Access to adequate medical attention, the pope said in a written message Nov. 18, was one of the "inalienable rights" of man.


The theme of this year's meeting was "Caritas in Veritate - toward an equitable and human health care."

The pope lamented the great inequalities in health care around the globe. While people in many parts of the world aren't able to receive essential medications or even the most basic care, in industrialized countries there is a risk of "pharmacological, medical and surgical consumerism" that leads to "a cult of the body," the pope said.

By convoluted right-wing logic, Pope Benedict's reaffirmation of ancient church teachings clearly indicates that he's become some sort of hidebound socialist. But Benedict's statements on health care conform to his general views on the role that government should play in the well-being of its citizens. In the past, the Pope has even warned of the dangers of market fundamentalism, saying that "the market is not, and must not become, the place where the strong subdue the weak."