February 29, 2024

A look into a Catholic crystal ball

New head for the National Catholic Bioethics Center

Time for a bit of future-casting. The Philadelphia-based National Catholic Bioethics Center has a new head, Dr Joseph Meaney, a strongly pro-life academic. He was interviewed by Crux about the coming challenges in bioethics from his point of view. A few excerpts follow.

Bioethics is “an almost exponentially growing field” for two reasons, says Meaney. First, “the unprecedented rapid pace of technological discoveries, particularly in genetics and biology.” Second, “multiple contemporary ethical systems that do not view the dignity of the human person in ways that harmonize with the Gospels or Church teaching.”

The two biggest areas in the next five years will be “gender ideology issues such as sex-change surgeries and drugs” and “end of life issues, particularly assisted suicide and euthanasia”.

Where are the bioethical challenges coming from? Apart from the United States, Meaney nominates Japan. “The Japanese fascination with technology, particularly robotics, and capacity for scientific advances make it a cutting-edge country for some dangerous trends. I heard one Japanese robotics-expert say that he cannot see a real difference between a human being and a fully autonomous robot!”

In an increasingly globalised world, most people are ethically conservative. “the vast majority of countries in the world have very conservative cultures. The U.S., Canada, Western Europe and Australia/New Zealand are very influential but also very different from the majority of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Oceania. Abortion is severely restricted in most countries, and very few nations have redefined marriage around the world.”

“There is a very broad and concerted attack on conscience rights in many Western countries. The abortion lobby really wants to kick pro-life persons out of the healing professions. Catholic doctors and hospitals are a living reproach to abortionists because they refuse to participate in the killing of preborn children. With the rise of euthanasia and assisted suicide, this is another area where conscientious objection is needed and can be countercultural.”

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge

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