"We can't avoid reasoning; we can only avoid doing it well."

Peter Kreeft

Catholic Medical Association

Catholic Medical Association



  • 1912 First Catholic Physician Guild in Boston was founded by William Henry O'Connell, Archbishop of Boston


  • 1927 Guild in Brooklyn, New York was founded by R.A. Rendrick, MD


  • 1932 NFCPG (National Federation of Catholic Physicians Guilds) was established in New York City after the unification of the existing seven guilds under the leadership of Dr. Rendrick. North America was organized into ten regions. Positions of regional directors were established with the task of forming local guilds. The locus of each guild became a moderator or chaplain who functioned as the spiritual mentor to the members.
  • The celebration of the White Mass (named for the white coats of physicians) on the Feast of St. Luke (October 18th) - the patron saint of physicians - was introduced.
  • The journal Linacre Quarterly was created to educate members and subscribers on how the principles of the Catholic faith apply to pertinent medical and scientific issues of the times. Thomas Linacre was a 16th century physician and priest in England, serving as the private physician to King Henry VIII. He was well known for his scholarship, high standards for scientific medicine and strong Catholic faith; he was also a founder of the Royal College of Physicians.
  • Initialy, NFCPG met at the American Medical Association's annual meetings.


  • 1944 NFCPG set up permanent headquarters in the offices of the Catholic Hospital Association (CHA) in St. Louis
  • Subsequently, both NFCPG and CHA, came under the supervision of the Social Action Department of the National Council of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) Bishops relied upon the physicians of the NFCPG for expert opinions on medical issues; the White House regularly asked the NFCPG for briefings on the Catholic perspective on current medical-moral issues


  • 1950 The annual meeting in Atlantic City was attended by 13 guilds. Annual membership dues were $1 a year


  • 1956 The first year the NFCPG met at separate time and place from the AMA under the president Dr. Paul Muske in Detroit.
  • Conference with speakers on current medical-moral issues was added to the program along with an evening banquet with a guest speaker.


  • 1957 25th anniversary of the NFCPG foundation was celebrated at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City with welcome of Francis Joseph Spellman, Archbishop of New York City; there were 60 guilds registered at that time.


  • 1960 there were 92 guilds in North America, with a total membership of 6,110


  • 1961 The 100th guild of Rochester, Minnesota was welcomed by Cardinal Spellman at a grand celebration in New York City


  • 1963 NFCPG became the sixth largest medical organization in the United States


  • 1964 A strain in the relationsgip with the NCCB began over contraception. A subgroup of attendees of the NFCPG and Family Life Committee of the NCCB sponsored conference in Washington, D.C. drafted a letter to be sent to Pope Paul VI asking him to endorse the use of the contraceptive pill. The physician component strongly supported traditional Church teaching , while many of the Family Life directors openly supported contraception.


  • 1965 Relationship with the CHA ended when the CHA endorsed Socialized Medicine, which NFCPG opposed. Administrative headquarters for NFCPG was moved to Milwaukee under the executive director Robert Herzog.
  • The circulation of the Linacre Quarterly reached a high point of 10,300 issues
  • Annual membership dues were raised to $25 a year


  • 1967 A total of 120 guilds existed with physician membership reaching its peak at more than 10,000


  • 1968 Majority vote during the national meeting in Miami supporting Humanae Vitae document lead to an abrupt resignation of the president of NFCPG and the separation of many guilds from the NFCPG.
  • Subsequently all but two member guilds (Chicago and Philadelphia) became virtually inactive with a decline in membership to the lowest point of 300 members. In the next three decades the national federation continued its yearly annual meeting and, through the hard work of remaining physicians loyal to the Catholic Curch and her Magisterial teaching, remained vital.


  • 1997 NFCPG was changed to the CMA (Catholic Medical Association) to reflect the fact that its membership consisted almost entirely of individual members.


  • 1998 Newly renamed CMA met with FIAMC in a joint program in New York City under the leadership of George Isajiw, MD, of Philadelphia guild. Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor presided over the White Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.


  • 2002 Region XI was formed to cover all Canada, shifting British Columbia from region VIII of the USA


  • 2003 The importance of fostering local guilds was affirmed by the FIAMC president Dr. Gianluigi Gigli attending the CMA Executive Directors retreat.


  • 2006 John F. Brehany, PhD, was hired as a new executive director of the CMA. The CMA has developed a closer working relationship with the NCCB and has become a more frequently cited authority in a variety of media sources


  • 2009 The CMA has been heavily engaged in the struggle to protect conscience rights and achieve authentic health care reform


  • 2010 CMA - Students Section was established


  • 2013 First CMA sponsored Annual Medical Student Boot Camp - an intensive four-day educational activity with emphasis on teachings of the Church, medical ethics and professionalism - was held in St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA.


  • June 2016 First CMA sponsored Annual Medical Student and Resident Boot Camp - a five-day intensive experience of prayer, study, practical training, and mentoring with CMA physician members will take place at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA.


  • October 2016 84th Annual Educational Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. with the theme of "Virtuous Medicine: The Joy and Privilege of the Catholic Physician".

 Catholic Medical Association Website