> ANSA English > News

Pope Francis addresses needs of victims of rare diseases

Pontiff calls for medical and legislative support for patients

26 February, 17:21
Pope Francis addresses needs of victims of rare diseases (ANSA) - Vatican City, February 26 - Pope Francis in a general audience on Wednesday called for better assistance for victims of rare diseases while speaking to a crowd in St.

Peter's Square that included 300 such patients.

"Why did they put Jesus on the cross?" asked Paolo Toniolo, a disabled child with a rare disease from the Italian town of Cittadella in northeastern Italy, according to Vatican newspaper the L'Osservatore Romano.

Pope Francis explained that the people who crucified Jesus did not love Him.

The newspaper referred to the incident as "one of many moments of intense dialogue between the pope and the sick people, especially the smallest ones, which has become a significant tradition every Wednesday". The group of rare disease sufferers asked the pope to give voice to their urgent need for adequate medical and legislative support.

The encounter with Pope Francis was organized by Lorenzo Leuzzi, the auxilliary bishop of Rome for pastoral work in healthcare, and comes two days before Rare Disease Day on February 28.