By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Monday encouraged Catholic doctors to continue being faithful and consistent in their commitment to spread and implement the pro-life teaching of the Church, so that nothing goes against human life in its concrete existence, no matter how weak, defenceless, undeveloped or less advanced it may be.
He made the exhortation to some 22 representatives of the World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC) ahead of their 25th world congress in the Croatian capital Zagreb. “Sanctity Of Life and the Medical Profession from ‘Humanae Vitae’ to ‘Laudato Si’”, is the theme of the May 30-June 2 congress.
Right to life vs efficiency, profit
Speaking in Italian, the Holy Father noted that even the field of medicine and health care has not been spared by the advance of what he called the “technocratic cultural paradigm”, by the adoration of human power without limits and by a practical relativism, where everything becomes irrelevant if it does not serve one’s own interests.
In this situation, he said, Catholic doctors are “called to affirm the centrality of the sick person as a person and his dignity with inalienable rights, first and foremost his right to life.”
“The tendency to debase the sick man as a machine to be repaired, without respect for moral principles, and to exploit the weakest, discarding what does not correspond to the ideology of efficiency and profit, must be opposed,” the Pope stressed.
The Holy Father called for the defence of the personal dimension of the sick person, saying it is essential for the humanization of medicine, and also in a sense of “human ecology”.
He called on the doctors whether in their respective countries or at the international level, to involve themselves not just in specialist circles but also in discussions on legislation on sensitive ethical issues, such as the termination of pregnancy, the end of life and genetic medicine.
The Pope also called on them to show concern for the “defence of freedom of conscience of doctors and of all health care workers.” He said, “It is unacceptable that your role be reduced to simply carry out the will of the sick person or the needs of the health system in which you work.”
The Pope said that today it necessary and urgent that the action of the Catholic doctor have a “character of unmistakable clarity” on the level of both personal and associative witness.