Rome, 31 August 2016 – His Holiness Pope Francis honoured the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) with an historic visit to ESC Congress 2016, the world’s largest scientific summit on cardiovascular medicine.
“You look after the heart,” His Holiness told the cardiologists. “How much symbolism is enshrined in this word! How many hopes are contained in this human organ! In your hands you hold the beating core of the human body, and as such your responsibility is very great!”
Pope Francis added: “The Magisterium of the Church has always affirmed the importance of scientific research for human life and health. The Church not only accompanies you along this demanding path, but also promotes your cause and wishes to support you.”
ESC President, Professor Fausto Pinto, in introducing the Pontiff, said: “The European Society of Cardiology, like the Vatican, is committed to alleviating suffering and promoting healthy lifestyles. Both share a common purpose of delivering care to those in need and helping people live more productive lives.”
The European Society of Cardiology brings together healthcare professionals from more than 150 countries to push the boundaries of cardiovascular medicine. ESC Congress, held annually at the end of August, presents more than 6,000 scientific abstracts, identifying the latest discoveries and breakthroughs in the field of cardiology. This year’s congress attracted a record 33,000 cardiology professionals.
“There is so much more that could be done, that must be done,” Professor Pinto said to Pope Francis. “In Europe alone, 1.4 million people under the age of 75 die prematurely each year from heart attacks and strokes because, in many cases, they are not getting the timely and effective healthcare they need.
“Governments, public health systems, clinics, hospitals, universities, we must all recognise the urgency of this public health crisis. And a crisis is exactly what it is, and how it should be seen.”
Find videos and pictures of the event as well as the full text of the Pope's speech.