Vatican Worried for Kids in Tragic Situations

Health Care Council Plans Conference

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- For many of the world's kids, childhood is more about war and work than toys and fun, and the Vatican intends to consider what can be done about this.



Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, presented today that dicastery's upcoming international conference. The theme for the Thursday through Saturday event is "Pastoral Care in the Treatment of Sick Children." It will bring together 41 experts from 14 countries.

The cardinal noted that poverty is the principal cause of childhood sickness. "Even in the richest countries, one child in six lives under the poverty line," he said. And "250 million children under 15 work, including some 60 million who do so in dangerous conditions."

Children also face the tragedy of war, the prelate said, noting that "in the last decade more than 2 million children have been killed in the course of armed conflict, 6 million have been left handicapped, tens of thousands mutilated by antipersonnel mines and 300,000 recruited as child soldiers. More than 4,300,000 children have died of AIDS."

The pontifical council conference will thus be divided into three sections: "Situation," "Reflection" and "Action."

The last section will consider what can be done to combat child illness. The reflections will range from consideration of solutions from catechesis and formation in the faith to what national and international health care systems should modify to better serve children.