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Catholic doctors must speak up for the right to life, Pope Francis says

Pope Francis attends the general assembly of the Italian Bishops Conference (Getty Images)

Catholic doctors should speak up for the right to life, Pope Francis has urged.

Speaking to a group of physicians on Monday, the Pope called on them to resist ideologies that trample on the dignity of human life.

“The Church is for life, and her concern is that nothing may be against life in the reality of a concrete existence, however weak or defenceless it may be, even if not developed or advanced,” the Pope said.

He acknowledged that doctors may face “difficulties and hardships” when they stay true to Church teaching, however they must not forget that they should “affirm the centrality of the patient as a person and his dignity with his inalienable rights, primarily the right to life.”

“The tendency to debase the sick man as a machine to be repaired, without respect for moral principles, and to exploit the weakest by discarding what does not correspond to the ideology of efficiency and profit must be resisted,” the Pope added.

In an address to a delegation of the World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations, Pope Francis told them it was “not acceptable for your role to be reduced to that of a simple executor of the will of the patient or the needs of the health system in which you work.”

Instead, they should resist the “technocratic cultural paradigm” that had taken hold of the profession by working with doctors from other faiths who also share the Catholic belief in the dignity of human life.

“Be ministers, not only of care, but also of fraternal charity, transmitting to those you approach, along with the contribution of your knowledge, your wealth of humanity and evangelical compassion,” he said.