Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily


Bioethics Requires Respect for Human Dignity, Professor Argues

The National Catholic Register reviewed the book A Defense of Dignity by philosophy professor Chris Kaczor of Loyola Marymount University, who previously served as a research fellow for The Cardinal Newman Society’s Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education:

As a term used to justify diametrically opposed courses of action, “dignity” is a term that many doubt is of practical use in ethical discussions.  Yet Blessed John Paul regularly invoked dignity as a moral compass. Christopher Kaczor, professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, does a masterful job in showing how important is this concept, properly understood, to contemporary bioethics.

Kaczor treats those bioethical dilemmas in three broad groups: the beginning of life, its end and the doctor’s role as a moral agent.The issues he examines are cutting-edge and current: abortion, artificial reproduction, surgery on fetuses, artificially supplied nutrition and hydration for the comatose, organ donation and physician-assisted suicide.

Conscience and its rights is a theme running throughout the book: Two chapters explicitly deal with the conscience rights of medical personnel who object to being involved in abortions, but conscience as an issue repeatedly surfaces wherever doctors and nurses morally dissent from what the law brands to be legally right, e.g., improved breeding through in vitro fertilization or helping patients kill themselves.

The author, whose Ethics of Abortion established him as an intellectually robust advocate of the right to life, applies his razor-sharp analysis to those issues, often formulating a pithy and reasoned response to those who would fumigate the public square of any moral influence.

Kaczor also takes on issues concerning abortion, conscience, the “right to reproduce” and other issues.

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