As a general rule, bioethical debates deal with the questions raised by scientific-technical breakthroughs in the field of research and biomedical practice. The swiftness with which these advances take place calls into question whether moral philosophy —and in particular theological ethics— can provide answers to the new questions raised, or whether it should capitulate to strategic ethics.
The Incarnation of Jesus Christ the Son of God, into the human condition has served to forever change the meaning and value of human life. His incarnation has restored upon the face of humanity, the image of God, which had been disfigured through sin. As part of the restoration of the divine image upon the human countenance, the value of each and every human being has thus been invested with inestimable worth. No longer can it be said that the human is far from God but indeed God in Jesus has joined Himself to the human being and become one like them and so has raised it to the dimension of its origins.
In the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae St John Paul II has written clearly about the Church’s teachings on the value of each and every human life. He writes that human life is specifically “holy” and “good” because “the life which God gives man is quite different from the life of all other living creatures, inasmuch as man, although formed from the dust of the earth (cf. Gen. 2:7, 3:19; Job 34:15; Ps 103:14 Ps 104; 29), is a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of His presence, a trace of His glory (cf Gen. 1:26-27; Ps 8:6) ” (n.34).
During the upcoming World Youth Days, the FIAMC committee for Young Doctors and Medical Students will organize a seminar entitled: “I was sick and you visited me”. The seminar will take place on Wednesday July 27th at the Collegium Novum from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, between 2 and 4 pm. The FIAMC Bioethics Committee will also be represented. In this meeting students and young professionals will reflect on the role of mercy in the lives of health professionals and will be able to exchange experiences with colleagues from around the globe. Here are the welcoming and inspiring words of Kevin J. Murrell MD.
Dr. Bernard Ars M.D., Ph.D.,
Prof. Dominique Lambert Ph.D.
Université de Namur
61 rue de Bruxelles B-5000 Namur (Belgium)
A world invaded by robots
Today, robotics plays a fundamental role in both our individual and collective lives, especially in medicine. Robotization, current or future, is welcomed, perhaps even sought, not only because it has already proved its practical effectiveness, but also because it allows some to dream about surpassing the limitations and weaknesses inherent to the human being. But it is precisely here that the whole issue lies: in the essential difference between a reality at the service of man and a potentially destructive fantasy. The field of medicine is no exception to this technological invasion and the growing attraction for robotics.
Before he ascended the Chair of St. Peter, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, a man of unparalleled theological understanding with a natural genius for teaching. Co-published by The National Catholic Bioethics Center and Ignatius Press, On Conscience combines two lengthy essays written by Cardinal Ratzinger and originally delivered as speeches while he presided as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Both speeches were presented at workshops hosted by The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Dallas, Texas. They explore the vital importance of conscience and its exercise in particular circumstances.
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For more information on this title, call the NCBC at 1-215-877-2660 (USA)
The Ascomb Bioethics Center (UK) has announced the publication of The Ethics of Pregnancy, Abortion and Childbirth: Exploring Moral Choices in Childbearing by Dr Helen Watt, Senior Research Fellow at the center. This book addresses the unique moral questions raised by pregnancy and its intimate bodily nature. From assisted reproduction to abortion and ‘vital conflict’ resolution to more everyday concerns of the pregnant woman, the book argues for pregnancy as a close human relationship with the woman as guardian or custodian. If the status of the fetus is conclusive for at least some moral questions raised by pregnancy, so too are facts about its bodily relationship with, and presence in, the woman who supports it. The pregnant woman is not a mere ‘neighbor’ or helpful stranger to the fetus but is rather already in a real familial relationship bringing real familial rights and obligations.
The purpose of the National Catholic Bioethics Center (USA) is to help health care providers and their patients navigate complex medical issues through informed decisions based on the fullness of Catholic doctrine. Their newest publication, Bioethics across the Life Span, edited by Marilyn E. Coors, was created specifically for the reader who is not a specialist. The 174-page volume serves as a rapid-fire overview of the field of modern bioethics, especially as bioethical issues touch on daily life. The Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., calls it a “volume that will be of tremendous assistance to those who study Catholic bioethics.” Each chapter highlights a particular and practical issue, surveying a wide range of topics, including stem cell research, organ donation, and the ethical use of vaccines.