by Dom PETER FLOOD, O.S.B.
Religion and Medicine (S,C.M. Press 25s.) THIS book is a symposium
A edited by Canon M. A. Melinsky for the Institute of Religion and Medicine founded in 1964. It has a preface by the Bishop of Durham and some thirteen articles by various authors. some medically qualified, some clerical and one a physical chemist at the Atomic Research Station at Harwell'. There is also a statistician of some note.
The reviewer approached this discussion of the border line regions between Religion and medical therapy with anticipatory relish, but on the whole. it must be confessed that despite some fine writing and useful observations here and there, the book has disappointed him.
There is rightly emphasis on the patient as a human being and on the relevance of certain Christian teaching to the full treatment of him as a sufferer.
though this is more "horizon talism" than a full measure of the Christian life. It is un fortunate that the psychiatrists who write seem to have absorbed neo-Freudianism lock, stock and barrel without much understanding of its falsities.
Dr. Mathers even attempts a psychiatric evaluation and des cription (imaginative) of the inner life and motivation of Jesus Christ. It is sufficient to say that there is much he does not understand though he may not be aware of it.
In sum these articles suggest that there is a lack of communication between doctors arid their patients, and that the former are rarely even aware of it. This is an overstatement.
Fr. L. Marteau contributes an article as a hospital chap lain, but in no way shows the fullness and richness with which the Catholic Church approaches the sick and dying.
Unfortunately he makes the unpardonable mistake, in a hospital chaplain, of comparing publicly two departments, of the great hospital to which he has the honour of being attached to the disadvantage of one of them.
This could harm the confi dence that every department must have in the chaplain of any denomination. Dr. Cicely Saunders. who is well known and who spent seven years in St. Joseph's Hospice at Hackney, does not do herself or her experience full justice.