14 October 1988

To Archbishop Angelini, National Assistant of the Italian Catholic Medical Association (AMCI)

The 18° National Congress of the Italian Catholic Medical Association took place in Florence form 17 to 20 October, on the theme «Quality of Medicine for Quality of Life»

To the Venerable Brother Fiorenzo Angelini Titular Archbishop of Messene

I was very glad to be informed that the members of the Italian Catholic Medical Association will soon gather in Florence, in order to discuss a central theme of their professional activity: the quality of medicine for the quality of life. Such an objective is in line with the aims of the Association, which is about to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. During its years of activity, the Association has, in fact, always tried to be witness to those human and Christian values that must enlighten, in the context of the medical science and practice, research and its applications aimed at safeguarding health and defending the right to life.

On account of such commitment I praise the Association, which is also constantly and especially upholding  some inalienable principles of ethics, with rigorous faithfulness to the Magisterium of the Church.

The recent canonization of Giuseppe Moscati, a physician, and the beatification, which is about to take place, of Nil Stensen (Nicholaus Steno), who precisely here, in Florence, offered the treasure of his discoveries and the example of his pastoral virtues to society and the Church, testify the fruitful encounter between science and faith in a field such as medicine, which intends to answer humanity’s «demand for health and life».  These two figures must revive, in the members of the Association, the sense of responsibility characteristic of those who, already declaring themselves Catholic doctors, are committed to rendering a qualified witness to Christ in Universities, Hospitals, and private practice, always serving life, that is to be promoted, defended, and redeemed.

While he devotes himself to caring for the body, the Catholic doctor cannot and must not ignore the problems of the spirit, for the object of his care is man in his entirety. His «ministry», therefore, will have to be accomplished not only with scientific and professional expertise, but also with personal participation in the practical circumstances of the single patient. This presupposes, among other things, a permanent Christian training which will make him appear as an authentic defender and promoter of human life.

Venerable Brother, I entrust you with conveying my greetings to the national and diocesan Leaders  and to all the members of the meritorious Association, and I invoke the assistance of God on the activities of the Congress, on its aims and the initiatives that will follow, and impart upon everyone, with the intercession of the Virgin «Salus Infirmorum», the Apostolic Blessing.

(Translation by F.L.) John Paul II