Archbishop calls for NHS bill to cover spiritual health
By - - BBC NEWS WEBSITE
Added: Thu, 03 Nov 2011 13:21:21 UTC
Spiritual health must be a feature of the [National Health Service] bill for England, the Archbishop of York has insisted during debate in the House of Lords.
Dr John Sentamu told peers: "I am one of those who believe that human beings are psychosomatic spiritual entities."
Humans are spiritual entities, says the Archbishop of York
The archbishop then told how he freed the spirit of a young girl, left petrified by seeing a goat sacrificed.
During a debate on an amendment he said: "Illness can be physical or mental but it can also be spiritual."
The amendment, tabled by psychiatrist and crossbench peer Baroness Hollins, called for the words to be inserted into a clause about the duty of the secretary of state, the NHS Commissioning Board and clinical commissioning groups to improve the quality of services.
Making his case, the Anglican archbishop argued that schools now emphasised students' spiritual dimensions, and said hospital chaplains' work addressed spiritual issues, as well as the physical and mental.
He also told how when he first became a vicar in south London, he was invited to a home where there was "a presence", a phrase he said he did not understand at the time.
At the home, he said, he found a young girl who had been unable to move for nearly three weeks and would shout out in the middle of the night.
He was told the family had been to a witches' coven where a goat had been sacrificed. The young girl was petrified she would be next.
Visits from a GP, psychiatrist and psychologist did little to help, he said, but then he said a prayer, anointed the girl and lit a candle on his visit.
Shortly after, he received a phone call saying the girl was no longer terrified and was talking again.
"That was not mental or physical illness; there was something in her spirit that needed to be set free," he told his peers.
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