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This book answers Fr. Hardon’s appeal, not only in its presentation of a medical practice conceived in and guided by the principles of faith, but also insofar as the author has been witness to the divorce of such principles from medicine.
Over the course of my career, I have watched as the traditional values of the medical profession, expressed in the Hippocratic Oath, gradually gave way to a new ethos that placed profit over service and pride over obedience to a divinely instituted natural order. Advances in medical technology made it possible for physicians to literally “play God,” meeting the needs and desires of their patients to a degree never before possible. My concern here is not to capture a by-gone, golden age.
I hope with these recollections to encourage reflection on how the medical profession can escape from the mire of lies into which it has fallen. The backward glance here may help answer some fundamental questions. How can a Christian physician today meld the current approach to medical care with values that reach back two millennia? How can he or she share the sensibilities of the apostolic physician Saint Luke and the countless holy souls who, in the name of Christ, embraced the vocation of caring for the sick and dying? How does a medical practitioner stay spiritually healthy in the midst of a profession that wields such awesome powers to heal, yet so often remains blind to the true goods of human life?