Presentation on theme: "Healing and the Church: Catholic Approaches to Medical Practice"— Presentation transcript:
1 Healing and the Church: Catholic Approaches to Medical Practice Fr. Tom KnoblachConsultant for Healthcare Ethics,Diocese of St. Cloud
2 Quaestiones Disputatae A Small Sample How should “mission” and “margin” be balanced?How should Catholic health care respond to victims of sexual assault?When may labor be induced?May tubal ligation be performed to prevent risks associated with a future pregnancy ?
3 5) How can we ensure that a patient’s preferences for end of life care are honored? 6) When is the provision of medically-assisted nutrition and hydration morally required?7) When may implantable cardiac devices be disabled?8) May a Catholic hospital partner with another provider that does elective sterilizations?Others ? …
5 “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” …“Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
6 We begin with the Resurrection, because: “The mystery of Christ casts light on every facet of Catholic health care: to see Christian love as the animating principle of health care; to see healing and compassion as a continuation of Christ’s mission; to see suffering as a participation in the redemptive power of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection; and to see death, transformed by the resurrection, as an opportunity for a final act of communion with Christ.” [ERD, General Introduction]
7 When is health care Catholic health care? “When the bishop says it is”Can. 300 – No association shall assume the name “Catholic” without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority, in accord with the norm of can. 312.possible points of reference:visible symbols, structures, and presencecommitment to ERD and other moral teachingsoption for the poor / social witnesscanonical structures and reserved powers
8 from Ex Corde Ecclesiae, n. 17: animated by Christian inspirationmanifests ongoing commitment to its proper mission in the worldmaintains fidelity to the Gospel as it comes through the Churchprovides visible service in witness to the transcendent
9 Goal: the practice of medicine in a genuinely Catholic way animated by Christ’s teaching, a collaboration with the healing ministry of Christ, as a mission of the Churcha holistic view of the person, body and soul, and made in the image of Goda vocation to use one’s gifts wisely and generously for the common good as a witness to charity (“beyond the Hippocratic Oath”)upholding the inherent dignity of each human life, regardless of the circumstances of the person’s development or declineaccepting the responsibilities and the limits of human capabilities to restore health or preserve life, rooted in the belief in eternal life
10 An open, honest, constructive, and routine relationship with the bishop(s) is essential and worth the time and effort it requiresGovernance structures where applicableReporting relationshipsOrganizations (CMA) at the non-institutional levelSense of personal ownership for the larger mission of the ChurchWho is the liaison?
11 An awareness of Catholic moral teaching as related to the practice of medicine is required In general, natural law illumined by revelation, reflecting on the complex and composite nature of the human person and his/her capacitiesThe “three fonts” of moralityThe role of conscienceThe centrality of prudenceThe connection of the virtuesThe personal pursuit of holiness (cf. Spe Salvi)Magisterial teaching on specific issues …
12 When ethical questions arise, what do I actually do? Gather the relevant factsRefer to the ERDRefer to general principles of Catholic moral teachingRefer to Catholic commentators / “auctores probati”Refer to experience (individual and collective, institutional policy, consultation)Refer to secular standards of practice, legal factors, current trends, “general secular morality” for context and contrast
13 The reality: each of us forms our own personal ethical synthesis from various sources Family systemEducational experiencesReligious tradition / beliefsPersonal life experiencesListening to people we come to trust
15 For convenience, various principles develop Principles are tools – templates developed from past experiences that serve as shorthand and “starting points” (points of reference) in deliberating about specific casesNot answers but help frame the right questionsThey are general rules that must be applied with prudence to particular situations
16 A few examples:“The Georgetown Mantra” – Beneficence, Non- maleficence, Autonomy, and JusticeDouble Effect (when an action has both good and bad effects)Totality (parts exist for the sake of the whole)Common Good (conditions necessary in the community for its members to thrive)ConfidentialityOrdinary and Extraordinary MeansInformed ConsentPrinciples governing Cooperation (when I interact with someone doing things against my own moral commitments)
17 All the right theories, principles, and policies in the world still need to be lived out by persons in concrete circumstances – recall that ethics is a practical disciplinePrudence grows with knowledge gained by study, experience, and reflectionPrudence allows us to make the best choice, here and now, in these circumstances, while respecting our larger commitments with integrity