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MEDINA


143


MEDINA


medicine through pity and charity towards the poor, in default of ordinary practitioners. The Sacred Con- gregations have on several occasions granted per- mission to priests to make and distribute meclical confections, and allowed priests who had formerly been physicians to practice the art, but with the clause "gratis and through love of God towards all and on account of the absence of other physicians". A clause is likewise sometimes added that they may ac- cept recompense if spontaneously offered, but never from the poor. In cases where a cleric had formerly been a physician, he may not practise medicine ex- cept through nece.ssity, without obtaining a papal in- ilult, which is generally not granted except for an im- pelling cause (Bened. XIV, De Syn. Dioec", 1. 13, c. 10). This has been frequently insisted on in de- crees of the Sacred Congregation of the Council. The regulations of some dioceses (e. g. Brixen, 1857) ex- plicitly mention that homoeopathy likewise falls under the prohibition of exercising the medical art-. Priests are reminded that it is preferable to study theology and become expert physicians of souls rather than to cure bodies, which is a secular profession. The main reason why clerics should not practice medicine arises from the danger of incurring the irregularity which is caused by accidental homicide or mutilation. Even acci- dental homicide induces irregularity if the perpetrator be at fault. The decretals give certain rules to deter- mine whether such action is culpable. Thus, if a per- son in the performance of a licit act does not employ proper diligence and as a consequence the death or mutilation of the patient ensues, he becomes irregular if he could have foreseen the gravity of his act and if his want of ililigence was gravely culpable. Again, if a person performs an illicit act from which the death of another follows, ho becomes irregular even though he employed all diligence in averting a fatal result, provided there was a natural connection between the illicit act and the danger of death, so that the act was both illicit and imputable. It is to be noted that, ac- cording to this first rule, all physicians and surgeons contract irregularity for possible future sacred orders if any of their patients die through want of proper diligence or of due study of the art of medicine on the part of the physician. Hence, Benedict XIV (De Syn. Dioec, 1. 13, c. 10) declares that in general when physicians wish to enter the clerical state, a dispensa- tion should be obt ained ad ca utelam , as they can never certainly know that they have always used all the means prescrilied by medical science in behalf of those patients who died under their treatment. Accord- ing to the second decretal rule, all are irregular who practise meflicine or surgery rashly, through want of proper knowledge and experience, if they thus cause the death of another. Particularly as regards clerics, this irregularity is declared to be incurred by regulars who have received tonsure and by seculars in sacred orders who practise medicine in a forbidden manner, with burning and cutting, and thereby bring about a fatal result. Irregularity is also contracted by mutila- tion, which consists in the severing of any principal member of the Iiody, that is, one having a distinct and peculiar function. Even those who mutilate tliem- seives, even if it be done through indiscreet zeal, incur canonical irregularity. As regards physicians and sur- geons who are not clerics, they incur no irregularity for counselling or performing mutilation, because the canonical "defect of mildness" (see Irregularity) does not apply to them. Should they afterwards wish to receive sacred orders, they should be dispensed ad cautelam.

The ecclesiastical canons contain many and various prescriptions concerning lay physicians, which are enumerated :it length by Ferraris (op. cit. infra). Thus pliysicians are warned that they must endeavour to persuade their patients to make sacramental con- fession of theirsins (cap.Cumlnfirmitas, 13,depcenit.).


St. Pius V decreed that no physician should receive the doctorate unless he took oath not to visit a sick person longer than three days without calling a con- fessor, unless there was some reasonable excuse. If he violated this oath, he fell under excommunication. Canonists and moralists (among them St. Alphonsus Liguori), however, declare that this is not binding in places where it never became an established usage. They also teach that even where it had been received, it applied only to cases of mortal sickness, or where there was danger that it might become mortal, and that it sufKcetl for the physician to give this warning by means of a third party. The canons also declare that when a physician is paid by the public community, he is bounil to treat ecclesiastics gratis, though the bishop may allow them to make voluntary contribu- tions. Likewise, the precept of charity binds medical practitioners to give their services to the poor free of charge. Physicians who prescribe remedies involving infractions of the Decalogue, are themselves guilty of grave sin. This is also the case if they experiment on a sick person with unknown medicines, unless all hope has been given up and there is at least a possi- bility of doing them good. Physicians are to be re- minded that they have no dispensing power concerning the fast and abstinence prescribed by the Church. They may how-ever give their prudent judgment as to whether a sick person, owing to grave danger or in- convenience to his health, is obliged by the ecclesiasti- cal precept. They are warned that, if they declare unnecessarily that a person is not obliged to fast, they themselves commit grave sin. They also sin mortally if they attempt, without being forced by necessity, to cure a serious illness, when they are aware that throusli tlieir own culpable ignorance or inexperience, they may l)e the cause of grave harm to the patient. Ph\siciaiis who are assigned to the care of convents of nuns shoukl be not less than fifty years of age, and younger practitioners are not to be employed unless those of the prescribed age are not olitainable. When they have the ordinary care of nuns, they are to have general license to enter the cloister, even at night in cases of great urgency. They are not, however, to be alone with the patient. Physicians who are not or- dinary require special faculties to enter the cloister. Regulars living in missionary' countries have the privilege, especially by the Bull of Clement XII, "Cum Sicut", of practising medicine. To make use of this privilege, however, they umst be skilled in the art of medicine and prescribe their remedies gratui- tously. They must also abstain from cutting and burning {cUra sectioncm et aduslioncm). It is re- quired, however, that regular missionaries abstain from medical practice where there is a sufficient num- ber of proper physicians. Regulars who according to their institute have care of hospitals may not exercise the art of medicine outside of their own institutions. Indults for clerics to engage in medical practice are not ordinarily conceded until the bishop's testimony concerning the medical skill of the applicant and the want of lay practitioners has been considered. The religious superior of the regular in question must also add his testimonial concerning the moral qualities of the candidate. An indult to practice surgery is much more difficult to obtain than one for practising medi- cine, and it is granted only when there is no other local surgeon.

AlCHNEH, Compendium Juris Ecdesiastici (Brixen, 189.5); Ferrahis, Bibliotheca Canonica (Rome, 1889), s. v. Clericua and Medicus.

William H. W. Fanning.

Medina, Bartholomew, Dominican theologian, b. at Medina, 1527; d. at Salamanca, 1581. With Do- minico Soto, Melchior Canus, and Dominico Banez he studied llieiilogy at the University of Salamanca vmder the celeliraled ]irofessor Francis Vittoria. His hfe was devoted almost entirely to teaching theology at Sala-