SteWards of Medicine, but of God First
Many are familiar with St. Thomas More and the similar, noteworthy phrase attributed to him. The culture of his time, though not as hostile to Catholic moral teaching as ours is today, attempted to alter the truth. Our culture often denies objective truth even exists. Yet we know that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that the Truth will set us free and cannot be snuffed out. We must live out this truth consistently by placing God at the center of our being. A Catholic physician has the tremendous responsibility to study intensively the art, science, and ethics of medicine and to apply them faithfully. Day to day in every act, there must be a deeply rooted respect for life at all of its stages, from conception to natural death. There must be a lifelong commitment to prayer, frequent reception of the sacraments and a desire to grow closer to Jesus, the Divine Physician.
A duty common to all physicians, and perhaps more salient to the family physician, is to respect the marriage bond between husband and wife, to lend morally sound medical care to help them bring about children in cooperation with God, and to aid in safeguarding the domestic church, the family, which is the foundation of any society and for whose purpose culture exists. This duty involves respect for all human life, which on the one hand at life’s early stages rejects artificial contraception, sterilization, artificial reproduction, and abortion, and on the other hand respects and protects the end of life, therein battling euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. A Catholic physician, realizing the sacredness of life, will cooperate with fertility utilizing ethical means of helping menstrual regulation and infertility. The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services will be adhered to by the Catholic physician.
Inherent in this work is an uncompromising fidelity to the aforementioned principles, refusing to cower or cave to any authority attempting to coerce, coax, deceive, or thwart the physician in this crucial endeavor. A special regard for those marginalized, weak, sick, orphaned, widowed, and poor has been the Church’s mission since its inception at Pentecost. These too will have pride of place in the heart of the Catholic physician who must strive to treat all patients as if treating Jesus Himself, all the while growing in virtue. Please pray for all physicians that this sacred duty will be taken seriously, and especially that Catholic physicians will be able to continue unimpeded in this great work of aligning their mission with that of Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician.