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Catholic Doctors in Nigeria Encouraged to “be part of the solution to the problem of pain”

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama with members of the Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (ACMPN)/ Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja/Facebook

The Catholic Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has encouraged members of the Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (ACMPN) to take their profession as a vocation and be part of the solution to pain in society by being at humanity’s service.

“Your calling as doctors is a special vocation to be at the service of humanity, to be part of the solution to the problem of pain in the world,” Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama said Friday, July 2.

In his homily during the opening of the 15th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of ACMPN, Archbishop Kaigama noted that people have great confidence and faith in medical doctors “because of your medical skills, so, you must not fail them as doctors, just as we Priests must not fail people who trust us to show them the way to eternal life.” 

Reflecting on the importance of healing, the Nigerian Archbishop said, “On account of our complex society today there is so much need for psychological, physical and even environmental healing.”

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“Nature is itself wounded by environmental degradation, through consumerism and global warming,” he said, adding, “Interpersonal relationships are wounded by the fatal activities of terrorists, kidnappers, bandits, etc. Humanity is itself a wounded humanity.”

Archbishop Kaigama urged Catholic doctors in Nigeria to “exercise their profession steeped in faith and spirituality. The Hippocratic Oath you take as doctors is to protect, promote and preserve life.” 

“Even though equipped with medical or scientific knowledge, we still find our inadequacies in healing the bodily wounds or safeguarding life,” he said, and continued, “The COVID-19 Pandemic is one such medical mystery that seems to have generated divided opinions. The doubts about the authenticity of the vaccine, shows that medicine with faith practice must go together.”

The July 1-3 General Assembly is being held under the theme, “Universal Health Coverage (UHC) 2030, Health Security, the role of Catholic doctors.”

In his July 2 homily at St. Gabriel Catholic Parish of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Kaigama lauded Catholic doctors for sacrificing their time to come together saying, “I commend you members of the national Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners for taking time off your busy and demanding duties to come together to reflect from the point of view of faith on your call to service as medical practitioners.”

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“Your convening for this conference is an act of faith, because you are acknowledging that with all your scientific and medical knowledge you are still dependent on the Supreme Being, the Creator, Omnipotent and Omniscient,” he added.

The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese noted that “faith should bear fruits in good works towards the poor, the sick, the oppressed, the outcasts, people with disabilities and sinners. Faith must bear fruits of goodness, generosity, compassion and social and economic justice.”

“Faith without good works seems to characterize our practice of religion in Nigeria,” the Catholic Church leader further observed, adding, “We, and especially our leaders, must be concerned with the poor, the oppressed, widows, orphans, the ill, the senior citizens, children and those with disabilities rather than imitating the West by pressing for abortion as a fundamental human right above even education, health care, employment.”

Making reference to Pope Francis’ address to Catholic Doctors during the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations in Rome for Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 22 June 2019, Archbishop Kaigama said, “You are called to give care with delicacy and respect for the dignity and physical and psychical integrity of the person.”

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He continued in reference to Catholic Doctors, “You are called to listen with attention, to answer with suitable words that accompany the gestures of care making them more human and therefore also more effective. You are called to encourage, to console, to raise up, to give hope.”

“Dear Catholic medical practitioners, let the light of your faith shine in all you do. You must remember that seven of history’s most brilliant scientists were Catholics,” he said.

Archbishop Kaigama also told the Catholic Doctors in Nigeria to “continue their immense contributions to humanity by giving hope to the sick, the vulnerable and the marginalized.”