By Hannah Brockhaus
Pope Francis has told a group of Catholic doctors on to resist ideologies which do not acknowledge and uphold the dignity of human life and affirm Catholic Church’s teaching on life.
“The Church is for life, and her concern is that nothing is against life in the reality of concrete existence, however weak or defenceless, even if not developed or not advanced,” the Pope said at the Vatican’s papal hall.
He noted the “hardships and difficulties” physicians may face when they are faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, particularly when they promote and defend human life “from its conception to its natural end”.
“Doctors are called to affirm the centrality of the patient as a person and his dignity with his inalienable rights, primarily the right to life,” he said.
“The tendency to debase the sick man as a machine to be repaired, without respect for moral principles, and to exploit the weakest by discarding what does not correspond to the ideology of efficiency and profit must be resisted.”
Pope Francis spoke with members of the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Physicians ahead of a congress on the theme of “Holiness of life and the medical profession, from Humanae Vitae to Laudato Si’ ” in Zagreb, Croatia from 30 May to 2 June.
Addressing the group, he praised the fidelity of their associations to the directives of the Magisterium and encouraged them to “continue with serenity and determination on this path”.
Pope Francis explained that to be a Catholic doctor means to feel driven by “faith and from communion with the Church”, to grow in Christian and professional formation and to know the laws of nature in order “to better serve life”.
Pope Francis also stressed that the participation of Catholic physicians in the life and mission of the Church is crucial.
The Pope noted that the health and medical fields are inclined to adore human power without limits and makes everything irrelevant if it does not serve a person’s interests.
“Be more and more aware that today it is necessary and urgent that the action of the Catholic physician presents itself with an unmistakable clarity on the level of personal and associative testimony,” he urged.
Pope Francis concluded by telling the group to continue their journey “with joy and generosity”, collaborating “with the people and institutions that share the love of life and endavour to serve it in its dignity and sacredness.”