Increasing longevity in our society today is due to tremendous scientific and technological developments that have not evolved at the same rate as human development.   Consequently, this has created gaps that are increasingly apparent in the most vulnerable social groups and at the most defenseless stages of life, which are the prenatal and terminal states. 

It is in these circumstances, when the Health Sciences are not able to achieve a desired state of “physical, mental, and social well-being (WHO, 1946) that palliative care allows us to honor the ancient saying: “cure often, treat sometimes, comfort always”

Exterminating “worthless life” – as proposed by some social groups- brings to mind the infamous Nazi slogan of “Lebensunwerten Leben”.  This philosophy is unjustifiable according to the universal ethical principles included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN, 1948).  Even less acceptable are  “economistic” views of Catholic thinking that influence IFCU member universities and especially effect the departments and schools of Health Sciences in our sectorial group. 

“Economistic” solutions offer well-being on the basis of “saving” the patient and his/her loved ones from suffering, not to mention the fact that (obvious or latent) economic savings is also a significant factor during the last stages of life.

The academic and practical position of our departments and schools of Health Sciences cannot merely be a systematic opposition to said “economistic” proposals.  Rather, we need to offer our students and fellow citizens positive, effective solutions that can help them achieve maximum physical, mental, and social well-being possible that every person has a right to, no matter what their phase or situation in life. 

That is why the subject of palliative care was chosen to be the topic of our next congress by the General Assembly of our sectorial group in Valencia (Spain) in February 2015.  Said congress will be held in Porto (Portugal) September 25-27, 2017 and hosted by Universidade Católica Portuguesa. The topic is closely related to our group’s identity, topical, and affects all Health Sciences.

That is why I heartily urge all Health Science schools and departments of IFCU member Catholic universities to encourage their faculty members to attend our next congress in May, either as speakers or as participants.

Our degrees in Medicine, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Podiatry, Nutrition, and all other subjects related to human health provide us with much to contribute to the topic from a Christian-based perspective of life, and this congress is the ideal venue in which to do so.

We look forward to seeing you in Porto September 25-27, 2017.


Dr. Ignacio Gómez Pérez

President, IFCU Heath Sectorial Group

Sciat Vt Serviat

P.S.- The organizers have planned a visit of Fatima before the opening of the congress.