Prominent Catholic Bioethicists Conclude Pro-Life Conference at Franciscan U

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Prominent Catholic Bioethicists Conclude Pro-Life Conference at Franciscan U

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 15
, 2008

Steubenville, OH ( — Prominent Catholic bioethicists recently concluded a pro-life conference held on the campus of Franciscan University in Ohio. Health care providers and students from 13 states attended the three-day conference on how Catholics can engage the culture on important and controversial medical issues.

The Institute of Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville host the conference, titled, “Moral Conviction vs. Political Pressure,” from October 9 to 11 on the University’s campus.

Most Reverend Anthony Fisher, the auxiliary bishop of Sydney, Australia and professor of bioethics and moral theology at the John Paul II Institute , delivered the lecture on the topic, “Cooperation, Condoms, and HIV.”

Bishop Fisher explored the rationale behind the Catholic Church’s opposition to condom use and why Catholic institutions could not cooperate with any program that promotes condom use—even those that emphasize abstinence first.

He said, “It’s never the role of the Church, its agencies, pastors, or members to help people do wrong things more efficiently or safely.”

Condoms, he explained, may be used simply to prevent the transmission of HIV and not with the intention to contracept, but they are always a barrier between the two individuals that prevent the possibility of conception. As such, they are always used in acts that are against what God intended for marital relations, he says.

Father Christopher Saliga, a nurse who is on the Hospital for Special Surgery Bioethics Committee in New York.

He spoke on “Freedom, Autonomy, and Rational Suicide Within End-of-Life Contexts: A Catholic Perspective,” and discussed how the choice to end one’s own life violates our God-given “freedom for excellence.”

True human flourishing points beyond the physical state; it gives meaning and value to human suffering, Saliga explained.

Healthcare providers, far from ever being justified in intentionally ending a life, even in the case of terminal and painful illness, are called to “[remind] the patient that he retains dignity and remains a contributing member of society through his suffering.”

Another speaker was Dr. Maureen Condic, associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, who spoke on the politically charged topic, “Human Embryology: Scientific Culture Versus the Scientific Facts.”

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