Pope Calls for Person-Centered Health Care

Catholic Medical Professionals Gather in Lourdes

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LOURDES, France, MAY 10, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is calling for a type of health care reform that brings medical professionals to lovingly focus on patients as persons in all their integrity.

The Pope made this recommendation in a message to the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, which concluded its four-day 23rd World Congress on Sunday.

Some 2,000 medical professionals from 50 countries took part in this congress-pilgrimage, held in Lourdes, France. It focused on «Our Faith as Doctors.»
The Holy Father encouraged the health care providers to «lovingly serve the sick in their bodies, their souls and their spirits.»

Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, opened the conference by pointing out the timeliness of the 1995 Charter for Health Care Workers.

This document notes that spiritual and religious care is a fundamental right of the sick and a duty of the Church.
In this connection, Archbishop Zimowski took up the Pope’s directive to attend to the needs of the physical, psychological and spiritual dimension of the person.
And he affirmed that all health care agents must create the conditions so that all those who ask for religious assistance, either explicitly or implicitly, can receive it.
He also proposed the witness of «true» Catholic doctors who have committed themselves to the defense of life.

The archbishop pointed to the examples of Sts. Giuseppe Moscati and Riccardo Pampuri, of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God; and St. Gianna Beretta Molla, a doctor and mother, and Professor Jerome Lejeune.

And he stated that «Catholic doctors are those who can represent the true face of treatment and hope.»

Our Lady’s presence

The president of the federation, José María Simón Castellví, told ZENIT that this year’s congress was particularly marked by the spiritual elements linked to the shrine at Lourdes.
The scientific program was divided into four sessions dedicated to God the Creator, Jesus Christ the Redeemer, the Holy Spirit Sanctifier and a last pro-life session dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
During the congress, the Federation of Catholic Doctors conferred the Science and Faith Prize, normally given to a doctor, to the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo.
Simón Castellví explained that the prize was in recognition of «his tireless defense of science and faith» and «this year it has been given to a bishop also because it is the Year for Priests.»
FIAMC is made up of some 60 national associations of Catholic doctors worldwide.

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