Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sept. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis met with members of the International Federation of Catholic
Medical Associations and discussed the particular challenges facing those in
the medical profession with regard to safeguarding all human life.
haven’t seen an English translation of the entire speech yet; the Italian can
be read here.
One passage that hasn’t been translated in full in either of the Vatican press
office reports on the speech (here and here) has
to do with protecting life in two of its most vulnerable stages: the unborn and
the elderly. Rorate
Caeli posted this translation of that paragraph:
Each one of us is invited to recognize in the fragile human being the
face of the Lord, who, in his human flesh, experienced the indifference and
loneliness to which we often condemn the poorest, either in the developing
nations or in the developed societies. Each child that is unborn, but is
unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the
face of the Lord, who, even before he was born, and then as soon as he was born
experienced the rejection of the world. And also each old person and - I spoke
of the child, let us also speak of the elderly, another point! And each old
person, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ.
They cannot be discarded, as the "culture of waste" proposes! They
cannot be discarded!
Below is the Vatican News
Service summary of the Holy Father’s remarks:
Today the Pope met with members of the International Federation of
Catholic Medical Associations and Catholic gynaecologists, and spoke of the
current paradoxical situation of the medical profession. “On the one hand we
see progress in the field of medicine, thanks to the work of scientists who
passionately and unreservedly dedicate themselves to the search for new cures.
On the other hand, however, we also encounter the risk that doctors lose sight
of their identity in the service of life”. He referred to the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate to explain that this
paradoxical situation is seen also in the fact that, “while new rights are
attributed to or indeed almost presumed by the individual, life is not always
protected as the primary value and the primordial right of every human being.
The ultimate aim of medicine remains the defence and promotion of life”. Faced
with this contradictory situation, the Pope renewed the Church's appeal to the
conscience of all healthcare professionals and volunteers, especially
gynaecologists. “Yours is a singular vocation and mission, which necessitates
study, conscience and humanity”, he said.
Again, Francis spoke of the “throwaway culture” that leads to the
elimination of human beings, especially those who are physically and socially
weakest. “Our response to this mentality is a ‘yes’ to life, decisive and
without hesitation. The first right of the human person is his life. He has
other goods and some are precious, but this one is fundamental the condition
for all the others”.
Reiterating that in recent times, human life in its entirety has become
a priority for the Magisterium of the Church, the Pope emphasised that “goods
have a price and can be sold, but people have dignity, they are worth more than
goods and have no price”.
Francis asked those present to “bear witness to and disseminate this ‘culture
of life’ … remind all, through actions and words, that in all its phases and at
any age, life is always sacred and always of quality. And not as a matter of
faith, but of reason and science! There is no human life more sacred than
another, just as there exists no human life qualitatively more meaningful than