‘Go against the tide,’ Catholic healthcare workers told

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Bishop Jean-Marie Mupendawatu

Bishop Jean-Marie Mupendawatu

MANILA, Oct. 23, 2014–A top Vatican prelate called on Catholic doctors and healthcare professionals to have the courage in defending their faith within the workplace.

Bishop Jean-Marie Mupendawatu, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers, said that more than ever before, it is imperative for health workers to practice their career imbued by their faith.

“Today courage is needed — to bear witness courageously to the ‘gospel of life,’” Mupendawatu said.

“This is a task of the new evangelization that often requires going against the tide and paying for it personally. The Lord is also counting on you to spread the gospel of life,” he said.

The bishop made his remarks during an address to the Congress of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations held in Manila last October 1.

Taking cue from Pope Francis, Mupendawatu emphasized that moral courage is necessary because being a Catholic doctor in an era of secularization and technology, “can truly be an uphill struggle.”

According to him, some interpret the relationship of a physician and a patient as a legal contract instead of moral covenant, others prefer to think of it as a commodity transaction or an exercise in applied biology.

He said that abortions are becoming legal in many countries, confidentiality can be violated in certain circumstances, patient autonomy overrides the physician’s autonomy, physician self-interest is exploited to limit costs in managed health systems, while others defend assisted suicide, as well as direct and indirect euthanasia.

“Most significant in all this is the challenge to the ideal of a profession as a group in society dedicated to a special way of life – a life of service in which self-interest yields to altruism. To practice medicine was tantamount to a vocation in the religious sense,” he said.

“There is a growing tendency to look at the medical profession as any other occupation. Medicine as a career (means of livelihood, prestige, power, and advancement) was secondary to medicine as a calling and a vocation,” Mupendawatu added.

The prelate also cited the ongoing “cultural war” between the culture of life and the culture of death where almost every principle of the traditional ethical standard is being questioned.

“It is a challenge but at the same time it is an occasion, a call to witness,” said Mupendawatu. (CBCPNews)

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