WHAT IS FIAMC?
FIAMC is the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (the letters F.I.A.M.C. are taken from the French name of the organization: "Fédération Internationale des Associations Médicales Catholiques"). French was its first official language.
FIAMC is made up of about 60 National Catholic Physicans' Associations from all over the world. It is divided into six regions:
Region II: Asia (Asian Federation of Catholic Medical Associations - AFCMA)
Region III: Australia and New Zealand
Region IV: Europe (Fédération Européenne des Associations de Médecins Catholiques - FEAMC)
Region V: North America
Region VI: Latin America (Federacion de Asociaciones Médicas Catolicas Latino-Americanas - FAMCLAM)
SHORT HISTORY OF FIAMC
As in all Human institutions whose aims are to assemble and to unite, the way towards unification was a very long and tedious one.
The first association of Catholic Physicians was founded in France in 1884 during the Pontificate of Pope Leo XIII. This was an era of strong anti-Catholicism in France, Germany and England. Other countries saw the formation of Catholic Physicians Associations in the following years but their activities were confined to a local level.
The first attempt to coordinate these local guilds on an international level was the formation of an International Secretariat of National Societies of Catholic Physicians founded in Paris in 1924. This Secretariat kept up a regular correspondence with the existing groups and also helped in the formation of other groups. It also organized meetings of Catholic physician groups of European countries. This became the beginning of the International Congresses, the first of which was held in Brussels in 1935.
During the Fourth Congress, in Rome in 1949, a second secretariat was founded in Rome, which was independent of the one in Paris.
In 1951, during the Fifth International Congress held in Paris, a new International Secretariat was temporarily formed combining the two previously existing secretariats. Its mission was to establish a genuine International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. International Congresses were held in Dublin in 1954, in the Hague in 1956, in Brussels in 1958, in Munich in 1960
and in London in 1962.
At the time of the 11th. Congress held in Manila in 1966, the official Statutes and Bylaws of FIAMC were adopted by the General Assembly and approved by the Holy See. This was the legal and statutory birth of FIAMC. Since that time, other national associations from Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Latin America have become members of FIAMC, so that at present FIAMC has representation from all its six regions comprising the continents of the world. FIAMC then is truly a worldwide organization.
FIAMC has its permanent secretariat in Rome.
WHY IS FIAMC NEEDED?
The question of why is an international organisation of Catholic doctors needed has been asked many times. Our Holy Father, Pope John-Paul II, answered this question very nicely when he addressed FIAMC at the 15th. International Congress in Rome on October 3, 1982. In discussing the "urgent problem of providing for the safeguarding, the defense and the promotion of human life through the filter of the various cultures", John Paul II said,"In order to do this, individual action is not sufficient. Collective, intelligent, well planned,constant and generous work is required, and not only within the individual countries, but also on an international scale. Coordination on a world wide level would, in fact, allow a better proclamation and a more effective defense of your faith, of your culture, of your Christian commitment in scientific rese arch and in your profession".
AIMS OF FIAMC
The aims of FIAMC are listed in its official Statutes and are as follows.
1) To coordinate the efforts of Catholic Medical Associations in the study and spread of Christian principles throughout theworld.
2) To encourage the development of Catholic Medical Associations in all countries in order to assist the Catholic Physician in his moral and spiritual development as well as in his technical advancement.
3) To take part in the general development of the medical profession and to promote health and social work in accordance with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
4) To devote itself to the study of medico-ethical problems and their practical and theoretical solution.
5) To establish models of cooperation in health and pastoral care with developping countries.
HOW DOES FIAMC ATTEMPT TO ACHIEVE THESE AIMS?
1) FIAMC organizes a World Congress which is held every four years in different areas of the world. These Congresses are held during the meeting of the General Assembly of FIAMC. The first World Congress was held in Brussels in 1935. At these Congresses, papers are presented and discussed to keep Catholic Physicians current on medico-ethical problems and their solutions within the teachings of the Church.
For example, in 1966
the 11th. International Congress held in Manila
discussed the Catholic Physician and the Problem of World Population. In 1970 the 12th. Congress, which was held in Washington, D.C., discussed the Catholic Physician and the Conservation of Life. In 1974 the 13th. Congress, held in Barcelona, discussed the Freedom of The Children of God. In 1978
The Quality of Life in a Changing Society was studied in Bombay. In the 1982
Congress, held in Rome,
the theme was The Phvsician in the Service of Life.
Buenos Aires (1986), Bonn (1990), Porto (1994), New-York (1998), Rome (2000), and Seoul (2002), Barcelona (2006)
were the venues of the last World congresses. Speakers at these meetings are usually international experts in their field. Mother Teresa, the Nobel Prize winner, addressed the Bombay Congress in 1978. Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, honored the Rome Congresses in 1982 and 2000 by coming to the Congress and addressing those present.
2) Regional Congresses are held in different regions of FIAMC. These meetings are held two years after each World Congress. Here again, these meetings are intended to assist the physician in joining his faith with the practice of medicine.
3) FIAMC used to publish a Bulletin ("Decisions") representing a discussion forum and a source of news of what was going on in various regions. It was also used to circulate the proceedings of the various regional or local national meetings. It was replaced in 2000 by the website, and the electronic newsletter, published every three months.
4) FIAMC has helped to establish a Bio-Medical Ethics Centre in Bombay to study ethical problems which arise as the result of the rapid advances in medical technology. This Centre extensively organizes meetings and publications. Interchange with other bioethics centres of catholic inspiration, which are numerous, is one of its priorities.
5) FIAMC serves as a clearing house for projects and needs expressed by Catholic organizations throughout the world, giving counsel, recommendations, and support to them. Health care projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America were carried out under the patronage of FIAMC and with the active involvement of member associations.