Catholic Bioethics and Social Justice

Catholic health care is one of the key places where the church lives Catholic social teaching (CST). Yet the individualistic methodology of Catholic bioethics inherited from the manualist tradition has yet to incorporate this critical component of the Catholic moral tradition. Informed by the places where Catholic health care intersects with the diverse societal injustices embodied in the patients it encounters, this book brings the lens of CST to bear on Catholic health care, illuminating a new spectrum of ethical issues and practical recommendations from social determinants of health, immigration, diversity and disparities, behavioral health, gender-questioning patients, and environmental and global health issues.

As we are begining a new fall semeter 2023/24 this book is worth reading!! A must-read for undergraduate and graduate students interested in theological bioethics, as well as religious leaders and clinicians engaging the general underrepresentation within Christian healthcare debates concerning justice, the preferential option, and diverse participation across a range of emerging issues. 

More at:  https://litpress.org/Products/8455/Catholic-Bioethics-and-Social-Justice




Act ethically and responsibly

Pope Francis has applauded the benefits of technology and artificial intelligence, when used for the common good, but has warned against using AI unethically or irresponsibly. He did so when addressing the 'Minerva Dialogues,' a high-level annual gathering of scientists and experts, organized by the Vatican's Dicastery for Education and Culture, on Monday in the Vatican.

As Deborah Castellano Lubov wrote in his article (https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2023-03/pope-francis-minerva-dialogues-technology-artificial-intelligenc.html): "The Pope said he greatly values this ongoing dialogue, especially as it involves the discussion regarding the responsible use of technology, a discussion, he called, "open to religious values." Technology is, and has been, he said, "immensely beneficial" to our human family, especially in the fields of medicine, engineering and communications. In acknowledging the practical benefits of science and technology, he noted, "we also see them as evidence of the creativity of human beings and the nobility of their vocation to participate responsibly in God's creative action... From this perspective," he said, "I am convinced that the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning has the potential to contribute in a positive way to the future of humanity... "At the same time," Pope Francis cautioned, "I am certain that this potential will be realized only if there is a constant and consistent commitment on the part of those developing these technologies to act ethically and responsibly." 

“I would therefore encourage you, in your deliberations, to make the intrinsic dignity of every man and woman the key criterion in evaluating emerging technologies; these will prove ethically sound to the extent that they help respect that dignity and increase its expression at every level of human life.

"The concept of intrinsic human dignity requires us to recognize and respect the fact that a person’s fundamental value cannot be measured by data alone," the Pope said. "In social and economic decision-making," he continued, "we should be cautious about delegating judgments to algorithms that process data, often collected surreptitiously, on an individual’s makeup and prior behaviour. "

Pope Francis warned that such data can be "contaminated" by societal prejudices and preconceptions. "A person’s past behaviour," he noted, "should not be used to deny him or her the opportunity to change, grow and contribute to society."

Source:  https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2023-03/pope-francis-minerva-dialogues-technology-artificial-intelligenc.html


What Is Man, O Lord? The Human Person in a Biotech Age

Since the fundamental ethical criterion governing scientific research can only be the defense and the promotion of the integral good of the human person, it follows that any procedure performed on human beings, even at the very dawn of their personal existence, must respect the dignity and rights originating
in human nature itself. Far from an extrinsic limitation on human freedom, this moral obligation arises from the very truth about the human person.

Labels: , ,


Palliative care is a right

The Pontifical Academy for Life organized an online webinar from 9 to 11 February 2022 as a part of project to improve the dissemination of palliative care in the world. I would like to point out to some of thoughts on palliative care:

"We must accompany people towards death, but not provoke death or facilitate any form of suicide. I would point out that the right to care and treatment for all must always be prioritised, so that the weakest, particularly the elderly and the sick, are never discarded. Life is a right, not death, which must be welcomed, not administered. And this ethical principle applies to concerns everyone, not just Christians or believers." (https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2022/02/09/220209a.html) 

Archbishop Paglia spoke of how palliative care "Talking about palliative care,” he said, “does not mean talking about a dimension of care offered when there is nothing more to do. It means accompanying a sick person in the last time before his or her death, so that he or she may receive all possible clinical, human, psychological and spiritual care and assistance... No one should be left alone in one of the most difficult moments or times of their life,” Paglia said, and for believers, it includes an extra spiritual dimension in that death is not the end but a passage. (https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2022-02/pontifical-academy-life-paglia-palliative-care-webinar.html)

Echoing the Pope’s words he said: “We are against suicide absolutely. Killing should be avoided but therapeutic overkill should also be avoided. What these two dimensions have in common is the power over death: either hasten it or delay it. In between” he stressed, “there is accompaniment.” The Archbishop concluded noting the increasing urgency of end-of-life care in an aging world and said Catholic Universities have an important role to play in formation, “in raising awareness of this perspective of what palliative care means: accompaniment at the highest level, clinical, cultural, spiritual and social.” (https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2022-02/pontifical-academy-life-paglia-palliative-care-webinar.html)


Labels: , , ,


Theological Ethics of Life

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, grants an interview to Vatican Media to explain the goals of the document entitled "Theological Ethics of Life. Scripture, tradition, practical challenges" arriving in bookstores on 1 July.

More at: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2022-06/archbishop-vincenzo-paglia-pope-francis-interview-theological-et.html


Four Biggest Bioethical Issues of the Next Five Years


As the fields of healthcare and biotechnology rapidly advance, ethical issues have increased just as quickly. Taking a look ahead, let me predicts four biggest bioethical/ethical issues of the next five years in Europe or our world today:

 1. Providing a minimal level of healthcare and reducing health disparities globally.

The average global life expectancy has increased by 20 years within the past five decades, but underdeveloped countries have been left behind, and there is a lack of a moral framework for dealing with this issue. Global and national actors are morally responsible for achieving common goals that will address this global health disparity. It stretches beyond a health issue; it is also a global peace issue, a global security issue, and an economic issue. For example, if epidemics are raging out of control in parts of Africa, that could lead to international political instability, economic instability, and so on.

2. Addressing the ethical, legal, and social questions posed by new gene editing technologies.

One of the greatest genetic technologies discovered is the CRISPR-Cas 9, a tool that can alter the DNA in our cells. The procedure involves clipping out bad genes in cells or inserting better ones. But there are risks. Specific genes that may increase the likelihood of one disease can protect you against other illnesses, meaning removal of such genes does not eliminate all changes of getting a disease. Moreover, gene editing could also lead to mistakes, such as snipping parts of the wrong gene and risking further health damages.

3. Addressing rising ethical, legal, and social challenges posed by AI and big data.

Complex AI systems and big data analysis are becoming the norm for corporations. Employees should understand the potential ethical risk of algorithms and network monitoring, the use of a system to monitor a network for slow or failing components. During this process, any data that is digested is usually hidden from view, which places data transparency and privacy into question.

4. Reducing the extreme costs of certain pharmaceutical products.

Many pharmaceutical companies have been raising the price of their drugs. Drug companies may expect reasonable return on their investment in research and development, the development of new drugs depends on taxpayer money and sacrifices that patients in studies make in good faith. In addition, excessive price increases can harm people, threatening public health and depleting taxpayer money that could be better used in other ways.





NCBC Calls for Respect for the Church's Teaching on the Common Good, Conscience, and Charity

"The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) draws on the full range of the teachings of the Church, including its social teachings, which provide guidance on appropriate respect for persons while building up the common good."

"NCBC Vaccine Exemption Resource for Individuals was created to help Catholics express the religious basis for accommodating their judgments of conscience. The Catholic faith provides many resources to inspire people to care for others, to serve the common good, and to make sound ethical decisions about how best to protect their own life and health. The NCBC shall continue to help people to draw upon the deepest resources of the Catholic faith to address the many challenges posed by COVID-19 with integrity and charity."

More at: The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) provides education, guidance, and resources... https://www.ncbcenter.org/ncbc-news/vaxhes-y3lad; https://www.ncbcenter.org/s/COVID-The-Common-Good-Conscience-and-Charity.pdf

Labels: , ,