Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Atlanta To Host Catholic Medical Conference

Published August 23, 2007

The 76th annual educational conference of the Catholic Medical Association will be held Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 4-6, at the J.W. Marriott Hotel near Lenox Square Mall in Buckhead.

Founded in 1932, the CMA is open to physicians and dentists, both active and retired; nurses; medical students; allied health care professionals; clergy, Religious and seminarians; and all people interested in supporting the promotion of Catholic faith and morality in the science and practice of medicine. The organization enables Catholic physicians to work together with deeper mutual support and understanding. This is the first time the national meeting will be held in Atlanta.

The conference is dedicated to Pope John Paul II and Our Lady of the Rosary.

The title of the conference, “Theology of the Body: The Dignity of Woman,” was taken from the series of 129 Wednesday audiences given by Pope John Paul II from September 1979 to November 1984. His education as a philosopher and his pastoral experience in working with couples was revealed as in these audiences he explained the meaning of marriage and human sexuality based on the words of Jesus Christ and the original experiences of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

The conference will feature 21 speakers from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Eternal Word Television Network, and various universities and bioethical institutes. The program begins on Thursday, Oct. 4, with an introductory talk by Bishop Robert J. Baker, newly appointed bishop for the Diocese of Birmingham, Ala., entitled “Theology of the Body: the Original Unity of Man and Woman.”

Other speakers include Johnnette Benkovic, producer of “The Abundant Life” on EWTN, who did a series on the New Age and its influences. She will address the origins of Reiki healing and whether it represents Christian healing. Albino Aragno of Comunita Cenacolo will discuss a Catholic approach to drug addiction through a program begun by Sister Elvira in Italy that gets to the root of the problem of addiction.

On Friday, Oct. 5, Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue will speak on Mary as a role model for the modern woman. Dr. Philip Mango, cofounder of St. Michael’s Institute in New York City, will give a talk entitled, “The Neurobiology and Psychology of Femininity.” On Friday afternoon, lectures offered will include the topics such as condoms and the AIDS epidemic by Dr. Dawn Reeler of Zimbabwe, the ethical use of infertility treatments, delivering natural family planning services, and managing the female patient without oral contraceptives.

Pilar Vigil, MD, Ph.D., who works on the faculty of biological sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, will present her work on the effectiveness of teaching fertility awareness, as recommended by Pope John Paul II, to young women to promote chastity.

On Saturday, Oct. 6, the program will open with a talk by Father Richard Hogan, co-author of the “Covenant of Love: Pope John Paul II on Sexuality, Marriage and the Family.” Dr. Paul Voss will look at the doctor-nurse relationship, Dr. E. Joanne Angelo, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts University in Boston, will speak on women as caretakers, and Helen Alvare, JD, of the Columbus School of Law, formerly the director of planning and information for the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the USCCB, will give a talk on “The Impact of Culture on Women and Their Families.”

Additional talks will be offered on ethical stem cell research, respect for the consciences of the Catholic physician and authentic love. Attendees may elect to attend a special event on Oct. 4 at the Georgia Aquarium, including a private viewing of the aquarium and dinner.

The conference will close with Mass on Saturday, Oct. 6, celebrated by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. He will also deliver the closing address at the final banquet on “Facing the Secular Culture as a Catholic Physician.” Daily Mass will be celebrated by the CMA’s episcopal advisor, Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Baker, Ore. Daily confessions and rosary will be offered. Eucharistic adoration will go on throughout the conference.

The conference has been approved for a maximum of 15.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ by New York Medical College, which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Registration in advance is required to attend the conference and can be done by going on-line at The cost for members of the CMA is $595, for non-members $670 and $410 for the general public. A single day registration is available for $195. Rates increase after Sept. 1.

Registration includes breakfast and lunch at the meeting. The Georgia Aquarium event and hotel accommodations are separate. Medical students who wish to attend should contact Dr. Kathleen Raviele at (770) 491-0353 as scholarships are available.


General questions about registration for the CMA convention should be directed to (215) 877-9099 or