World Congress of Catholic Physicians Meets in Rome and Discusses "Medicine: reparative or transformative?" FULL TEXT

The 26th World Congress of Catholic Physicians was held from September 15–17th, 2022. It was organized by the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations,  representing 120,000 members in 80 Catholic medical associations globally and which is recognized by the Holy See. Below is the Final Message and also the Argumentation for the congress on the Mission of the Christian Physician.

Final Message of the 26th FIAMC World Congress – ‘Reparation versus Transformation in Medicine’ (En/Fr) Professor Dominique Baron Lambert, Ph.D. in Physics and in Philosophy, University of Namur and Royal Academy of Belgium.
To think of reparation by giving back its importance to human nature and integral ecology; to think of a formation of future doctors that articulates reparation and accompaniment with transcendence as a horizon.
The Congress of the FIAMC has highlighted the necessity and even the urgency of thinking, in medicine, about reparation with human nature and the intrinsic dignity of the human person as a central reference, as well as the demands of justice and the common good. This Congress has shown how it is possible to combine the high technical standards and the most recent advances of contemporary medicine with an approach that fully respects a vision of Man based on the unity and dignity of the person, thought of as a being of gift, on the respect of the links through which he is inserted in the environment and in the social fabric and on his transcendence, as a creature loved for himself by God. The Congress brought out the idea that the formation of the Christian physician
(1) – must integrate the most advanced techniques of bodily repair when appropriate. Precise criteria must be studied to know when and how it is appropriate to repair the human being (these criteria must take into account respect for the dignity of the human being, the age of the patients, social justice, etc.).
(2) – But the training of future doctors must also and additionally initiate them to accompaniment which gives the poorest, most fragile person his or her rightful place… Learning to recognize humanity and to accompany people when no medical repair is possible is a major challenge in the training of doctors and, of course, of Christian doctors. Without this learning to recognize and defend the most disfigured and fragile humanity, there will only be medical technique or technological excess. One of the challenges of our conference was to explore the possible ways of such a formation, where the doctor, following Christ, will come to put himself at the feet of the suffering person to simply spend time with him, so that by this gift can be restored this immanent and transcendent link which provides true life.

XXVI FIAMC Congress – Argumentation

Rome, Augustinianum, September 15-17, 2022.

President: Prof. Dr. Bernard Ars.


The mission of the Christian physician.

This congress is designed, unlike usual, as a post-graduate Christian humanist training course for its members.
This is not a panoramic display of the activities of the federation.

“To Restore” means

  • on the one hand, restore to good condition what has been damaged, deteriorated and
  • on the other hand, compensate for the consequences of a mistake.

For the Christian who practices medicine,

  • on the one hand, “Restore” expresses
    • respect for life, as well as for the dignity and integrity of the human person;
    • in other words, for the doctor, it means restoring the whole body – physical, psychic, relational and spiritual -, respecting human nature, and not transforming it, in complete autonomy, for pleasure; it is the “Restore the Human” versus the “Transforming the Human” of the trans-humanists;
  • and on the other hand, it is also, for the Christian, to restore with Jesus, for the transgression of the Natural law, of the Divine law, by the Humans; in other words, it is to be a co-redeemer.

The natural law can now be rediscovered.

However, not all of nature’s productions as such serve humans.

  • They sometimes require the transformative action of man, either as a requirement for survival or as a demand for a better life.
  • The intelligibility of the body has been clarified by a conception of the Absolute, involving a conception of Salvation.
  • Starting from the idea of restorative medicine, the reflection opens on the meaning of restoration: why, with what objective, what should be restored? having as a common thread, the redemptive work of Christ.

The theme “Restore” will be developed according to the conception inspired by our Popes Benedict XVI and Francis.

In his speech to the Bundestag in 2011, Pope Benedict XVI declared that the conception of reason and nature, which brought philosophy and faith into harmony, has been contradicted for at least half a century by the almighty power of a “legal positivism” which obscures the horizon, deprives the legislator of any reference to God.

A “scientific vision” of the world, which excludes all that is not “verifiable, nor falsifiable”, tends towards exclusivity and makes the legislator incapable of creating bridges between the “ethos”, the religion – sent back to the subjective – and the law.

At the same time a “utilitarian” view of man and society has unilaterally emphasised what is “profitable”, “useful”; the human being measured according to quantitative standards of yield, of profit.
“Positivist reason” perceives only what is “functional”.
“Utilitarian reason” perceives only what is immediately useful and profitable.
“We must listen to the language of nature and respond to it consistently.”
There is an “ecology of man.” He has a nature that he must respect and cannot manipulate at will.
Man is not just “a self-created freedom”.

The defence of the inviolable dignity of Man which is “our historic task for today” consists for Benedict XVI, in a rule of law in political decision-making, the urgency of distinguishing good from evil, of serving the true law and justice, restoration, in the face of the domination of “positivism” and utilitarianism, of nature and reason, as well as the defence of a natural and ecological order.

In “Laudato Si” by Pope Francis (155), we read: “Human ecology also implies something very deep: the relation of the life of the human being with the moral law inscribed in his own nature, a necessary relation to be able to create a more dignified environment. …
Acceptance of one’s own body as a gift from God is necessary to welcome and to accept the whole world as a gift from the Father and as a common home; while a logic of domination over one’s own body becomes logical, sometimes subtle, of domination over creation. Learning to receive your own body, to take care of it and to respect its meanings, is essential for a true human ecology ”.

We plan to break down the notion of restoration under the following three facets:

  1. Medical: the medical aspects of restoration (repair, regeneration, reconstruction, plastic surgery, etc.), both somatic, psychic and spiritual, in their essential difference with the notion of augmentation, of transformation. We will study what makes restoration legitimate and what distinguishes it from a disrespectful increase in human dignity and nature.
    Restoring is not necessarily redoing identically, but it is respecting something which was an integral part of the human body.
  2. Philosophical: the notion of restoration calls for a conception of the body “as it should to be”.
    But what is this notion of the body which should serve as a reference for restoration?
    The difference betw
  3. een normal and pathological is difficult.
    What is the normal body? To restore, you need a reference.
    This notion will be considered on the basis of a biblical anthropology which values ​​the notion unity of the human person. It is the idea of ​​nature renewed in such a way dynamic. This is what will prevent the restoration from being understood as a simple return to a fixed standard, but as a way of respecting nature. To restore will never achieve what the body was before the pathology or trauma.
  4. Theological: To restore is also to repair the emotional, the heart, the soul.
    The glorious body of Christ, risen, but bearing the traces of his passion, serves as reference for restoration.
    Restoration refers to the incarnation (it is indeed a life incarnated in a body that it is) that we must renew, but also to the redemption (restoring is also “to save”).
    The physician is the one who works on a real project of (co-) redemption in the heart of a deep incarnation.