Pope John Paul II sent a message to the president of the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors, Domenico Di Virgilio, on the occasion of the organization's 23rd national congress, and emphasized the ethical principles of medical care and research that distinguish the Catholic doctor, especially “the defense of the inviolable dignity of every human being.”
In the message, dated November 9 and made public today, the Holy Father, reaffirming the ethical principles on which the Hippocratic Oath are based, said that “there are no lives that are not worth living; there is no suffering, no matter how grave, that can justify killing a life; there are no reasons, no matter how noble, that make plausible the creation of human beings, destined to be used and destroyed."
"May the conviction that life must be promoted and defended from conception till natural death always inspire you in your decisions,” said the Pope. “What will distinguish you as Catholic doctors is precisely the defense of the inviolable dignity of every human being.”
“May you never neglect the spiritual dimension of the human being in your work of safeguarding and promoting health."
While scientific progress is "a formidable instrument for improving the conditions of life and well-being,” he said, “it can also be enslaved to the will of abuse and dominion. Scientific research, by its very nature oriented to the good of man, runs the risk of losing its original vocation.”
“No type of research can ignore the intangibility of every human being: to violate this barrier means to open up the doors to a new form of barbarity," affirmed the Holy Father in conclusion.