Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 68(1) February 2018

Semper Idem - Editorial

Semper idem logoCMA-LogoSemper Idem is the first of a new section within the Catholic Medical Quarterly put together by the CMA’s Committee for the New Evangelization. The Committee for the New Evangelization was founded two years ago by young Catholics in healthcare to support our fellow young Catholics in healthcare, through prayer, friendship and catechesis.

In that time we have organized two annual CMA youth conferences (reports of the second one can be read about in this section), kick-started the CMA Facebook page into an effective and positive mode of communication for the CMA, and produced a prayer card to St Giuseppe Moscati, amongst many other things.

We are concerned with supporting young Catholics in healthcare, from students in healthcare sciences to young professionals in healthcare.

We would like to thank the CMQ editorial committee for giving us this platform.

Catherine of SiennaBehold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves.[1]

Alas we no longer live in a Christian society. Those who are serious about the Faith find themselves under siege even whilst still at school. And it only gets harder at university and in working life. Those of us in healthcare are acutely aware of this: as healthcare shifts to the extremes of patient-centredness, it seems as though we are expected to comply with whatever the patient wants even if it be unto ruin. Our religious beliefs are ridiculed as medieval and not fit for the modern enlightened age.  So much so that sometimes we find ourselves apologizing for our Faith  it even though there is nothing in our it that goes against evidence based practice.

Fulton SheedFar worse, however, we often experience opposition from within the  Church. Ideas which seemed anathema just a decade ago have been given the nod and wink by high ranking Church officials. For example , we have recently seen celebrities of the modern world with dubious reputations and views invited to the Vatican to give talks[2].  We see bishops contradicting one another[3].

Religious and clergy who go against the perennial teachings of the Church are held up as exemplary even while they trudge ever closer to their judgement. All this while the faithful are ostracised within their own Church and removed from their jobs[4].

This is the reality that faithful young Catholics have to face. Once they decide to follow their conscience as shaped by the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, they can expect to be alone, with little or no support from the Church hierarchy or even from most of their fellow Catholics who do not know any better. Yet more saints are forged in times of persecution, just as diamonds are only forged under immense pressure. There are glimmers of hope here and there: at our recent conference for young Catholics in healthcare, Mary Doogan told us about the cost of following her Catholic conscience, Dr Swee Ang inspired us with stories of her colourful life, and the Little Sisters of the Poor also talked beautifully about their vocation. We also heard a presentation by a young nurse on the Catholic heritage of nursing. (All these talks will soon be available online on our Facebook page, through the generous assistance of Radio Immaculata).

The feedback from our second annual CMA youth conference was fabulous. A young medical student wrote: “As young healthcare professionals, we left the conference with renewed energy and wonderful friendships, but perhaps most importantly, with the determination to keep God at the heart of our work.” A nurse wrote “It was great to meet so many like-minded people, passionate about the Faith.” /p>

TThe common theme was that these people were not going out of their way to do heroic deeds, but simply acting on the promptings of their conscience in their work. Therefore, our next conference for young Catholics in healthcare will follow from this  on the theme of conscience in healthcare.

Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.[5]

Conscience is not merely a feeling, but a judgement formulated according to reason, in conformity
with the true good willed by the Creator.[6] It is formed by God, who has revealed Himself, and the guardian of that revelation is the Catholic Church. Therefore, a rightly formed conscience is always in conformity with the teachings of Holy Mother Church (and not what some of her churchmen may say on a whim). /p>

AAlthough there are conscience clauses in healthcare legislation in this country which afford some protection for the practitioner, they are constantly in need of defending from secularists who insist that these impinge on the rights of the patient to basic healthcare[7]. Our forthcoming CMA Youth Conference will be in March 2018 and is entitled Catholics in Healthcare: Men and Women of Conscience. The aim of this conference is to inform young Catholics in healthcare of the Church’s teaching, and how to go about it without having to go against an informed Catholic conscience. It will also be a good opportunity to meet like-minded people.

If you are a young Catholic in healthcare, we hope to see you there!

The Editor
CMA Committee for the New Evangelization


  1. Mt 10:16
  2. Paul Ehrlich, population control proponent and zealous promoter of abortion, was invited to talk at a conference in the Vatican organised by the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences on Feb 27 2017
  4. Professor Josef Seifert, a prominent Austrian Catholic philosopher and former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, was removed from the Dietrich von Hildebrand Chair at the International Academy of Philosophy (founded by Seifert himself) by the Archbishop of Granada, Spain, after he published a critique of Amoris Laetitia in a German magazine of philosophy and theology.
  5. Mt 10:16
  6. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Part 3, section 1, chapter 1, Article 6.