Palliative Care and Spirituality for Life

The Palliative Care and Spirituality for Life (PCSLife) conference is a joint project of the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Academy for Life (Vatican), The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Houston Methodist Research Institute. These groups are united in their passion for promoting palliative care that is just, compassionate, and accessible throughout the world.

The joint mission to advocate for the best possible palliative care transcends the barriers of distance—10,000 miles—and doctrinal differences.  Pope Francis stressed the importance of fostering dialogue between faiths in his Message to the Pontifical Academy for Life in February of this year: «The complexity and delicacy of the subjects present in palliative care require continuous reflection and the spread of the practice to facilitate access: a task in which believers can find like-minded companions in many people of good will.»

Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, about Palliative Care says: «Even if we can not cure, we can still alleviate pain and suffering and continue to care for the patient. The “incurable” patient is never “beyond care.” Without this conviction, the medical profession can easily fall into “therapeutic abandonment” (“since no cure is available, there is nothing worth doing”) or in a slide toward euthanasia (“better to end it all”). Palliative care, in opposing these two risks, helps the medical profession rediscover its humanistic vocation, which is to defend the dignity of every person in whatever condition that person might be in».

This Palliative Care and Spirituality for Life conference (PCSLife) brings together palliative care and spiritual leaders to explore how to integrate spirituality into palliative clinical practice, develop ecumenical approaches to palliative care that support the spiritual life of patients and caregivers, and advocate for best practices in palliative care around the world.  The conference will also include an art exhibit by Lynn Randolph, whose moving work has been featured in hospitals and museums across America.