General indulgence for Jubilee 25th FIAMC Congress

“Indeed, I confess, that of the Penitentiary is the kind of Court I really like. Because it is the “court of mercy” we turn to, to receive the crucial medicine for our soul, which is God’s Mercy.” –  about The Apostolic Penitentiary

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has granted a general indulgence of sins with a decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary, signed by the Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, on the occasion of the 25th Jubilee World Congress of the Catholic Physicians that will be held in Zagreb from 30th May to 2nd June 2018.

With the decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary No. 9/18/l, the participants of the 25th Jubilee World FIAMC (World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations) Congress under the title “Sanctity of Life and the Medical Profession, from Humanae Vitae to Laudato Si” may receive indulgence or the general indulgence if they

  • approach the sacrament of Confession,
  • approach Holy Communion, and
  • join praying for the Holly Father’s intention.

General indulgence is given to all Catholic participants of the Congress who have made sincere confession of sins and who are filled and lead by the Christian love. General indulgence may also be intended for the souls of faithful in the Purgatory.

It is valid for all faithful that will participate at the 25th Jubilee World Congress in Zagreb from 30th May to 2nd June 2018 entitled “Sanctity of Life and the Medical Profession, from Humanae Vitae to Laudato Si” and humbly pray to God for their own faithfulness to the Christian calling, an increase in Church vocations, more priests, and the protection of the family through the Virgin Mary’s invocation „Health of the Sick“.

Partial indulgence of sins is given to those members justifiably prevented from participating in the congressional work if they unite in fervent prayers with a humble and contrite heart.




‘The Church is for life’, Francis tells Catholic physicians

Vatican City, May 28, 2018 / 10:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Ideologies which do not acknowledge and uphold the dignity of human life must be resisted and the Catholic Church’s teaching on life affirmed, Pope Francis told a group of Catholic doctors Monday.

“The Church is for life, and her concern is that nothing is against life in the reality of a concrete existence, however weak or defenseless, even if not developed or not advanced,” the pope said May 28 in the Vatican’s papal hall.

He noted the “hardships and difficulties” physicians may face when they are faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, particularly when they promote and defend human life “from its conception to its natural end.”

“The tendency to debase the sick man as a machine to be repaired, without respect for moral principles, and to exploit the weakest by discarding what does not correspond to the ideology of efficiency and profit must be resisted.”

Pope Francis spoke with members of the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Physicians ahead of a congress on the theme of “Holiness of life and the medical profession, from Humanae vitae to Laudato si’” in Zagreb, Croatia May 30-June 2.

Addressing the group, he praised the fidelity of their associations to the directives of the Magisterium and encouraged them to “continue with serenity and determination on this path.”

To be a Catholic doctor means to feel driven by “faith and from communion with the Church” to grow in Christian and professional formation and to know the laws of nature in order “to better serve life,” he said, stressing that the participation of Catholic physicians in the life and mission of the Church is “so necessary.”

Francis noted that the health and medical fields are a part of the advance of the “technocratic cultural paradigm,” which adores human power without limits and makes everything irrelevant if it does not serve a person’s own interests.

“Be more and more aware that today it is necessary and urgent that the action of the Catholic physician presents itself with an unmistakable clarity on the level of personal and associative testimony,” he urged.

He also encouraged working together with professionals of other religious convictions who also recognize the dignity of the human person, and with priests and religious who work in the healthcare field.

Continue the journey “with joy and generosity,” he said, “in collaboration with all the people and institutions that share the love of life and endeavor to serve it in its dignity and sacredness.”



Pope asks doctors to intervene into debate about abortion, end of life and genetics

Pope Francis asked for a “more human” medicine before the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. They met with the pope before traveling to Croatia. There they will have their next congress on “Sanctity Of Life and the Medical Profession from ‘Humanae Vitae’ to ‘Laudato si’.”

“Not even the fields of medicine and health, in fact, have been spared from the advancement of the technocratic cultural paradigm, from the adoration of limitless human power and from a practical relativism, where everything becomes irrelevant if it does not serve one’s own interests.”

Pope Francis asked for doctors not to forget that a patient is a human being. He told them not to get carried away by trends that only look at the expense of care, rather than healing people and defending life.

“We must go against the tendency that degrades sick person to a machine that needs to be repaired, without respect for moral principles. It is your responsibility to work in your respective countries and internationally, intervening in specialized environments and in debates concerning legislation on sensitive ethical issues, such as ending a pregnancy, the end of life and genetic medicine.”

The International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations is made up of more than 50 associations from 66 countries, mostly from Europe and Asia. Its objective is to prepare Catholic doctors to correctly deal with complex ethical cases.

It was instituted in France in 1884, in response to the message Leo XIII delivered in his encyclical Humanum Genus. In it, the pope condemned the philosophical and moral relativism proposed by Freemasonry.


Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to The World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am pleased to welcome you and I greet all of you, beginning with your President, Dr. John Lee, whom I thank for his kind words.

As Catholic physicians, you are committed to an ongoing spiritual, moral and bioethical formation that enables you to bring the values and principles of the Gospel to your practice of medicine, from the doctor-patient relationship to missionary activity aimed at improving health conditions among peoples living on the peripheries of our world. Your work is a particular form of human solidarity and Christian witness, and is enriched by the spirit of faith. It is important that your Associations be concerned to make medical students and young physicians aware of these principles by involving them in your various activities.

Your Catholic identity poses no obstacle to your cooperation with those who, whether from a different religious perspective or with no specific creed, acknowledge the dignity and grandeur of the human person as the criterion of their activity. The Church is committed to life, and to ensuring that nothing opposed to life be imposed on any person, however frail or defenceless, underdeveloped or challenged, he or she may be. To be a Catholic physician thus means being a health care professional who finds in personal faith and communion with the Church a source of inspiration to grow constantly in Christian living and professional expertise, in tireless devotion to others and in the desire to learn and understand the laws of nature in order to serve life ever more effectively (cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Humanae vitae, 24).

Everyone is aware of the fidelity and consistency with which the Associations of your Federation have, down the years, maintained their Catholic identity and followed the Church’s teaching and the directives of her Magisterium in the medical-moral field. This criterion of recognition and action has fostered your cooperation in the Church’s mission of promoting and defending human life from conception to its natural end, out of concern for the quality of life, respect for the weakest, the humanization of medicine and its full socialization.

This fidelity frequently entails hardships and difficulties that, in certain situations, call for great courage. I encourage you to persevere with serenity and conviction along this path, receiving the magisterial interventions in the areas of medicine with an awareness of their moral implications. For the fields of medicine and health care have not been immune to the advance of the technocratic cultural paradigm, the worship of unlimited human power and a practical relativism, wherein everything is considered irrelevant unless necessary for one’s personal interests (cf. Laudato Si’, 122).

In this context, you are called upon to affirm the centrality of the patient as a person, together with his or her dignity and inalienable rights, especially the right to life. The tendency to view the sick as machines to be repaired, without respect for moral principles, and to exploit the weakest by discarding what does not respond to the ideology of efficiency and profit, has to be resisted. The defence of the personal dimension of the patient is essential for the humanization of medicine, also in terms of “human ecology”. Make every effort, in your respective countries and on the international level, to speak out in specialized environments but also in debates about legislation dealing with sensitive ethical problems such as the termination of pregnancy, end-of-life issues and genetic medicine. Take care also to defend the freedom of conscience of physicians and of healthcare workers. It is not acceptable that your role should be reduced to that of a simple executor of the will of the patient or the requirements of the health-care system in which you work.

In your forthcoming Congress, to be held a few days from now in Zagreb, you will reflect upon the theme: “Sanctity of Life and the Medical Profession, from Humanae vitae to Laudato Si’”. This too is evidence of your participation in the Church’s life and mission. This participation – as the Second Vatican Council made clear – “is so necessary within the Church communities that without it the apostolate of the pastors will frequently be unable to obtain its full effect” (Apostolicam actuositatem, 10). Be ever more aware that today it is necessary and urgent that the activity of the Catholic physician be unmistakably evident on the level of both personal and group witness.

In this regard, it is desirable that the activities of Associations of Catholic doctors be interdisciplinary and involve other ecclesial realities. In particular, consider how to coordinate your efforts with those of priests, men and women religious, and all engaged in pastoral care of the sick. Join them in being close to people who suffer; they are in great need of your help. Be ministers not only of care but also of fraternal charity, helping those with whom you come in contact by your knowledge, your great humanity and your evangelical compassion.

Dear brothers and sisters, so many people look to you and your work. Your words, your actions, your advice and your decisions have an echo far beyond the strictly professional sector and become, if consistent, a witness of lived faith. Your profession thus rises to the dignity of a true apostolate. I encourage you to carry forward the efforts of your Associations with joy and generosity, in cooperation with all those individuals and institutions that share a love for life and endeavour to serve it in its dignity and sanctity. May the Virgin Mary, Salus Infirmorum, sustain your efforts, which I accompany with my blessing. And please, pray also for me. Thank you.


Speech of Dr. Ignatius Harjadi Widjaja at the AFCMA Banquet 2016

Program of the Banquet (Nov. 12)

(Program Director: Dr. Kano、Dr. Yayoi Takei)

18:00 Entrance

Table of Special Guests

Main Table-1:Dr. Lee、Dr. Widjaja、Dr. Lane、Dr. Loh、Dr. Hitomi、Dr. Shinozaki

Main Table-2:Dr. Isajiw、Fr. Gino、Dr. Blin、Dr. Shima、Me. Nishimura、Dr. Ishijima

(Other participants can sit at any other tables)

18:10   Opening : ( by Dr. Kano )

Congratulatory Speeches

1.Dr. John Lee (President of FIAMC)

2.Dr. Ignatius Harjadi Widjaja (President of AFCMA)

Toast: by Dr. Francois Blin (President of FECMA)

18:30 Starting Drinks and Dishes

18:45 Traditional music and dance of Kyoto

19:05 Some entertainments by attending members

19:55 Closing Remarks ( by Dr. Takei)

20:00 Closing of the Banquet

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, 

First of all, let us praise the Lord for imparting His wisdom to us throughout this congress. We also thank Him for it is because of His grace and blessings that we have completed this congress successfully. I believe all of you would agree that we have had an effective and fruitful meeting. Of course, this would not be possible without the hard work of the hosts. I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank all the organizing committee and Japan Catholic Medical Association for hosting us in this Congress. Last but not least, I would like to sincerely express my greatest appreciation to all of you valuable AFCMA members and distinguished guests for putting your best effort in actively participating in this Congress.

In the last few days, we have had collegial discussions covering a wide range of topics relevant to our present situations. We have shared ideas and voiced our opinions in how to better shape our organization for the future. In my opinion, we have achieved a lot in this Congress. I have deep confidence in all of you that together we can fulfil the commitments and achieve the goals we have set in this meeting. I also genuinely hope that each of us participants would return to our home country strengthened by the support we have found in each other during this Congress. 

On this occasion, I would like to congratulate Dr. Manuel Po from Philippines for his election as the new president of AFCMA. I personally believe that the Holy Spirit has truly worked on us in choosing him as the next shepherd for this organization, and I have faith in him that he can lead us to a greener pasture. I would also announce that the other Exco Members elected in the meeting are :

Vice Presidents :

1. Dr Ma Hon Kwong (Taiwan)

2. Dr Anthonysami (Malaysia)

Secretary General : Dr. Juliana Debuque (Philippines)

Immediate Past President : Dr.Ignatius Harjadi Widjaja (Indonesia)

Honorary Treasurer : Dr. Ambrose Leung (Hongkong)

Bio-Ethic Committee : Dr Peter Auyeung (Hongkong)

Mission Committee :
Dr John Lee
Dr Lukas Yusuf (Indonesia)

AFCMA Representative fo FIAMC

  1. Dr Young Jin Ko (Korea)

  2. Dr Shigeyuki Kano (Japan)

Ecclesiastical Advisor : Rev. Hygino Henriques (Fr. Gino) (Singapore)

I would like to thank all of you AFCMA members who have put your trust in me to lead you in the last four years. Once again I would like to offer my deepest apologies if I am not able to fully accommodate all your needs as individual members of this organisation. I sincerely hope that our new leader Dr. Manuel Po and his staff can learn from my experiences and put more effort in improving communications between AFCMA members. 

Before ending my speech, I would like to make an important announcement. The AFCMA Executive Committee has decided that the 16th AFCMA Congress will be held in Malaysia Hopefully all of us can meet again together in that beautiful city. 

Finally, I would like to offer my most sincere prayers to all of us here present and to our sisters and brothers who are not able to attend this meeting, may we all continue to be great proclaimers of the Gospel, who live our Catholic values not just through our words but also through our actions in saving people’s lives. God bless us all.

Message of the AFCMA President at Exco Meeting 2016

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, 

First of all, let us all thank God for it is because of His grace that we can all meet here in Kyoto for the 16th Congress of AFCMA. I would like to congratulate all the organizing committee under the leadership of Dr. Buiichi as the Chairman for all the hard work they have put together to coordinate this event. I would like to express my appreciation also to the Japan Catholic Medical Association under the leadership Shigeki Hitomi MD as the president for hosting the congress.

I would like to sincerely thank you all members who have entrusted AFCMA under my care in the last 4 years. I especially thank all the Vice Presidents, Secretary General, Treasurer, and all AFCMA committee members who have assisted me throughout my tenure as President. I would also appreciate Fr Gino and John Lee for their advices. I would like to also offer my deepest apologies for not being able to facilitate all the ideas you have put across to us and for not being able to organise more events to accommodate your needs.

I am, however, genuinely proud that all of us collectively have achieved a lot in the past four years. Among our achievements are:

  1. We have provided financial assistance and organised fundraising events to assist the victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2012.
  2. We actively participated in the FIAMC Executive Committee Meeting in Rome, Italy in 2013, although I had to be absent due to my untimely hospitalisation. The report from this meeting was presented by Dr Patricia from Singapore.
  3. We successfully held the FIAMC Congress and its Executive Meeting in Manila in 2014.
  4. We successfully held the AFCMA Executive Meeting in Manila which aimed to improve communication between AFCMA members.
  5. We have communicated our Easter and Christmas messages to all AFCMA members and our messages have always been featured in the FIAMC publications.

We have also attempted in establishing a better website for AFCMA in addition to the current Blogspot site. Unfortunately this has not been effectively utilised. I am hoping that the next AFCMA president would be able to accept this challenge for a better communication between members and provide better mechanisms for information and knowledge exchange. I am confident that all of us can utilise the advances in information technology to our advantage.

Finally, as I am stepping down from my presidency, I would like to wish you all the very best and I offer my prayers for a meaningful congress in Kyoto and for a better organisation under the leadership of the next President. May we all continue to be great proclaimers of the Gospel, who live our Christian values not just through our words but also through our actions in saving people’s lives. God bless us all.

Put ethics first, priest warns Catholic physicians

Father Carolus Boromeus Kusmaryanto reminds Catholic doctors to avoid practices that can terminate the life of the unborn in a seminar in Jakarta on July 16. (Ryan Dagur)

A moral theologian has reminded Catholic doctors to uphold the ethical values of their profession and refrain from doing things harmful to human life, particularly to unborn children.

“The most important principle is to maintain life,” said Father Carolus Boromeus Kusmaryanto, addressing Catholic doctors participating in a seminar in Jakarta on 16 July. “It’s the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

The seminar, “Respect the Unborn: Challenges for Catholic Doctors in the Modern Technological Era” was organized by Jakarta Archdiocese and addressed a variety of moral issues surrounding fetuses, including in-vitro fertilization and abortion.

Father Kusmaryanto — a moral theologian at the Catholic University of Sanata Dharma in Yogyakarta — admitted that the biggest challenge for medics is how to keep human dignity intact and protect people from inhumane practices in the face of life-terminating technology.

The Catholic Church believes that human life begins at conception. “Medical action that destroys the life of a fetus can never be justified,” said the priest.

The Indonesian Church won’t even stand for abortion in the case of a child being conceived through rape. Bishops pointed to a speech given by Pope John Paul II who said a child should not pay the price for the sin of its conception.

In such cases and if the couple cannot take care of their children, the church suggests adoption, said Father Kusmaryanto.

“A child is a gift from God and should be accepted with gratitude,” he said.

Eva Roria Silalahi, an obstetrician, said that doctors face a dilemma. With regards to prenatal diagnostics, she often faces difficulties if the fetus has an abnormality. “Sometimes the families ask to terminate the fetus, which is against our faith,” said Silalahi.

“On the one hand there are professional demands and on the other it is against religious teaching,” she said.

Meanwhile, Doctor Friesca Vienna Saputra of the Youth Mission for Life, a Catholic pro-life group, said that the moral question surrounding fetal life is complex. Continued guidance and campaigning from the Catholic Church remains crucial amidst an increase in abortions, about 2.4-2.6 million cases per year in Indonesia.

“Every minute there are five abortions in Indonesia,” she told

It’s not only unmarried couples but married couples who don’t want more children, or because of failed contraception, said Saputra.

“Awareness, education, and seminars on pro-life are important,” she said.



The 16th AFCMA Congress 2016

Date: 10 (Thu) to 13 (Sun) November, 2016
Venue: Shiran Kaikan in Kyoto University, Kyoto Brighton Hotel
Host: Japan Catholic Medical Association (JCMA)

Main Theme:

What Should We Do for the Least of Our Brethren? (Matthew, 25:40)

Organizing Committee

President of JCMA: Shigeki Hitomi
Chairman: Buichi Ishijima
Chief of Executive Committee: Shigeyuki Kano
Chief of Scientific Committee: Fumihiko Shinozaki
Chief Treasurer: Emiko Wada

Supported by

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan
Japan Catholic Nurses Association
Japan Catholic Medical Institute Association
Japan Catholic Senior Residence Association
Japan Christian Medical Association


Japan Catholic Medical Association (JCMA)
TEL: +81-3-5340-7162 FAX: +81-3-5340-7163


For any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact the secretariat at: Prime International Co., Ltd.
TEL: +81-3-6277-0117 FAX: +81-3-6277-0118


Abstract: abstract-afcma-2016

Easter Message from the President

16749666401458712180My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Easter is the peak of our liturgical journey as Catholics. The Holy Week, starting from Palm Sunday, through to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Saturday and Sunday, commemorate the passion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It signifies the completion of his mission on Earth. Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross perfectly illustrate God’s ultimate love to us, by sacrificing his only Son for the redemption of humankind. As his followers, we must constantly remind ourselves that our Lord has lowered himself to be one of us, and he died in the cruellest of ways in order to save us from sins. While Jesus had always had the option to bail out, he surrendered himself to God’s will, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). He dutifully carried his cross, humiliated and tortured, and ultimately died.
As mere humans, we would never be able to repay God’s kindness to us. However, one of
Jesus’ final message before he ascended into heaven was for us to “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). We are told to evangelise. This does not necessarily mean we stand in front of public and yell out God’s Gospel to the people around us, but the most important aspect of evangelisation is through our actions, through our service to God and to one another. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
As Catholic doctors, we are also called to be part of this evangelisation of God’s love and mercy. We look around us and we can easily see that there are a lot of people who are suffering, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Hunger, poverty, and illnesses are still the major problems in the world we live in today. Natural disasters and wars only make these worse. We CAN make a contribution to save the world. We can alleviate the suffering. The talent that God gave us to treat the sick should be put to good use. Through our actions, we must provide the best possible care to the unfortunate. We must treat our patients with care, and most importantly, with love. We must also help others sincerely, without expecting anything in return. Most importantly, we must abandon our personal needs and put our patients as the focus of our service, just as Jesus abandoned himself and put us as the centre of his suffering and death on the cross. Having these positive mindsets, we will be able to carry out our duties as doctors in good spirit, and we will be able to practice our faith in our daily lives. Throughout history, we are privileged to have prominent examples of these principles in the likes of Dr. Eleonora Cantamessa, Fr. John Lee Tae-Seok, Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, and Saint Damian de Veuster of Molokai. By doing these good deeds, we will be able to truly call ourselves sons and daughters of Christ, we obey God’s commandments to us to spread the Gospel, and we thank him for sending his only Son to redeem our sins.

I wish you all a very blessed Easter. May the spirit of the risen Christ strengthen us in our service to the Church and to the whole world. God bless you all.


Ignatius Harjadi Widjaja MD DEd