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PRESS INFO | 22nd CONGRESS FIAMC  
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The Church is the main supplier of psycho-social and spiritual health of the planet
22/04/2006

 
Interview with Dr. José María Simón

President of the Organizing Committee of the 22nd World-wide Congress of FIAMC

Doctor in Medicine and Surgery, José María Simón (1963) has been president of Christian Doctors of Catalonia (Médicos Cristianos de Catalunya) during the last years. He is vice-president of the European Federation of Catholic Doctors and President of the local Organizing Committee of the 22nd World-wide Congress of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC) that will take place from the 11th to the 14th of May in Barcelona.. With the title “Catholic doctors and the challenge of the erradication of poverty in the globalization era”, the Congress will also host five official sessions, 6 symposiums and workshops and more than 50 expositions, among other activities.


“It is necessary to shout out that the Church is the main supplier of psycho-social and spiritual health of the planet”.

“The panorama is a distressing scene: in 20 countries people live with less than a dollar a day; in a dozen third world countries the life expectancy doesn’t surpass 42 years, half of what a Spanish women lives…”


Is it really possible to eradicate poverty?
To totally eradicate it is impossible, but we can diminish it extraordinarily. We can request 0’7 and for the UN no to spend so much on bureaucracy, but we can also solve some things by ourselves: through distance education, micro-credits and the important work that the missions accomplish. On the other hand, there are very simple aspects that contribute, in a slow but constant way, to improve the situation, for example, trough education.

What is the purpose of the World-wide Congress of FIAMC in Barcelona?
We want to contribute to solve some of the physical and spiritual health problems of the world. Also, that the people are aware of that the Church works very hard for the third world and that it is capable of organizing a big event, offering the best. It is necessary to shout out that the Church is the main supplier of psycho-social and spiritual health of the planet. There where medicine isn’t business, it is the Church that takes care of the ill and underprivileged.

Society is probably already sensitized in the fight against poverty. What do you think about the institutions?
There are institutions and companies related to medicine that are not seriously committed either with the objective of eradicating poverty, or with a congress like ours, because they think it will not benefit them economically, which, by the way, is not entirely true. This is very serious. We are in favour of the company and of legitime benefits, but we have to be conscious that we must pay a social mortgage, of sensitivity, I would almost say of courtesy when it is by justice, in exchange of living in the first world that is privileged in all senses. So if our congress works, it will be thanks to small contributions, the same way, although to slow, the objective of eradicating poverty in the world works.

Is the process of eradicating poverty in the world really going so slow?
Six years a go, almost 200 governments and states signed the Millenium Declaration supported by United Nations with the objective of releasing a good part of humanity from the “abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty”. A date was set to accomplish that objective: 2015. When we are already half way, the panorama is a distressing scene.

So devastating?
Just a little bit of recent information. According to recent reports: around 14% of the world population consume 80% of medicines; in 20 countries people live with less than a dollar a day; in a dozen third world countries the life expectancy doesn’t surpass 42 years, half of what a Spanish women lives…

What contribution will this Congress make to eradicate poverty?
On the one hand, initiatives and possibilities that take place in our globalized world, such as distance education and micro-credits in health will be exposed. We will also debate on the right of the poor people to have access to health, the role of the international organisms and concrete measures will be set out. The role of the doctor who serves peace and missionary medicine, will be other outstanding subjects. A big exposition on missionary medicine and initiatives for development that the Church carries out, specially in the sanitary scope, will be held.

And what is the expected participation?
We already have 625 enrolled participants coming from 54 countries… We are expecting more than 1,000 participants. 900 bishops worldwide support and bless this initiative. Our webpage (www.fiamcbarcelona2006.org) displayed in English, Spanish and French, has received more than 100,000 visits since it was activated last June… I encourage all medicine professionals with authentic humanist restlessness to take part in this unique event. And for them no to wait to the last moment… We have to compete with the Formula 1 Championship, and hotel availability is limited.

The Congress will take place in honour and gratitude to John Paul II
He was a great defender of life and always had a special attraction for medical science, perhaps as a consequence of the fact that he had a brother that was a doctor and that died after being infected by patients. But we should not forget that we have received 900 letters of bishops blessing the great congress and the most important is to state that big organizations are not a requirement to try solving things. The doctor who is called catholic does not exert in a different way to one that is not catholic.
 
   
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The Church is the main supplier of psycho-social and spiritual health of the planet