The new president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, said this week that since its Hippocratic origins, the essence of the practice of medicine demands respect for the life of every human being.
“We should not employ euphemisms such as ‘voluntary interruption of pregnancy’ or ‘death with dignity,’ which cover up sordid realities that many do not want to hear,” Castellvi said at the conclusion of the Federation’s 22nd annual gathering.
“Leaving aside the progress and the advances we have experienced in recent years, we cannot forget about right and wrong. And despite everything that can be said, doctors and the health-care sector cannot work against human life,” he added. Castellvi said he would continue to work to ensure that “the principles that have made the medical community one of the most respected in society” are not lost.
The Spanish doctor also addressed the issue of poverty in the countries of the southern hemisphere and noted that in that region “medicine should not be a business.” He denounced the “institutions and companies related with the medicine of the privileged first world that do not commit to fighting poverty in the world.” Castellvi said the pharmaceutical industry should reach out to poor countries and provide assistance even though it would be economically beneficial.
Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and peace, was also in attendance at the Federation’s annual gathering. He expressed his disappointment that only five European countries have kept their commitment to dedicate 0.7% of their GDP to aid for poor countries.