Pope Francis is warning doctors to resist any possible temptation to see life-destroying acts as being, on some level, a service to others.
The Pope delivered this forceful message to the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors gathered Saturday in the Vatican, on the occasion of the association’s 70th anniversary.
“The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a ‘false compassion,’ that which believes that it is helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to ‘produce’ a child and to consider it to be a right; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others,” the Holy Father told the doctors.
Instead, he affirmed, the compassion of the Gospel is that which accompanies in times of need, that is, the compassion of the Good Samaritan, who “sees,” “has compassion,” approaches and provides concrete help.
Stressing the dignity and importance of being a doctor, Francis not only reminded them all lives are sacred, but urged them to “continue with humility and trust on this road” of implementing the teaching of Magisterium of the Church into the field of medical ethics.
Noting how their mission as doctors puts them in daily contact with many forms of suffering, he encouraged them to take on cases as “Good Samaritans,” caring in a special way for the elderly, the infirm and the disabled.
“Fidelity to the Gospel of life and respect for life as a gift from God,” he said, “sometimes require choices that are courageous and go against the current, which in particular circumstances, may become points of conscientious objection.”
Such fidelity, the Jesuit Pope stated, entails many social consequences.
“We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said. Playing with life. Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator.”
The Pope said he was asked as a priest about why the Church is opposed to abortion, and answered that it’s not a religious or philosophical problem, but rather a “scientific problem,” because “there is a human life there, and it is not lawful to take out a human life to solve a problem.”
Francis said this same logic applies to euthanasia.
“We all know that with so many old people, in this culture of waste, there is this hidden euthanasia. But there is also the other,” he explained. “And this is to say to God, ‘No, I will accomplish the end of life, as I will.’ A sin against God the Creator! Think hard about this,” he stressed.
While expressing his wish to the physicians that their association’s 70 years will stimulate a further process of growth and maturation, the Pope prayed that they may “work constructively with all the people and institutions who share your love of life and seek to serve it in its dignity, sanctity and inviolability.”
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