Birth, Suffering, and Death

Birth, Suffering, and Death : Catholic Perspectives at the Edges of Life

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For centuries the Roman Catholic Church has been concerned with the moral implications of medical practice. Indeed, until two decades ago, Catholic moral theologians were the major source of moral guidance, scholarly reflection and teaching on a variety of medical-moral topics, particularly those bearing on human life. Many, not only those within the Catholic communion, turned to the Church for guidance as each new possibility for altering the conditions of human life posed new challenges to long held moral values. Two decades ago, the center of gravity of ethical reflection shifted sharply from theologians and Christian philosophers to more secular thinkers. A confluence of forces was responsible for this metamorphosi- an exponential rate of increase in medical technologies, expanded education of the public, the growth of participatory democracy, the entry of courts and legislation into what had previously been private matters, the trend of morality towards pluralism and individual freedom and the depreciation of church and religious doctrines generally. Most significant was the entry of professional philosophers into the debate, for the first time. It is a curious paradox that, until the mid-sixties, professional philosophers largely ignored medical ethics. Today they are the most influential shapers of public and professional opinion.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 236 pages
  • 151.89 x 223.01 x 14.73mm | 412.77g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1992
  • XV, 236 p.
  • 0792325451
  • 9780792325451

Table of contents

Foreword to the Series; E. Pellegrino. Preface; F. Abel, J.C. Harvey. Finitude, Religion, and Medicine: The Search for Meaning in the Post-Modern World; K.Wm. Wildes. Section I: Medical Background and Ethical Issues. Edges of Life: The Consequences of Prenatal Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment; R. Cefalo. The Frail Elderly Person and Those Suffering From Dementia; J.C. Harvey. The HIV Infection; E. Cassem. Artificial Feeding and Hydration in Advanced Illness; P. Storey. Section II: Theological Perspectives. Dignity, Solidarity, and the Sanctity of Human Life; A. Autiero. Dominion or Stewardship?: Theological Reflections; B. Ashley. Sharing Responsibility at the Edges of Life; D. Bader. When the Dying Person Looks Me in the Face: An Ethics of Responsibility for Dealing With the Problem of the Patient in a Persistently Vegetative State; P. Schotsmans. Life as a Good and Our Obligations to Persistently Vegetative Patients; K.Wm. Wildes. Section III: Moral Quandaries. Pain Relief: Ethical Issues and Catholic Teaching; K. O'Rourke. Why almost any Cost to Others to Preserve the Life of the Irreversibly Comatose Constitutes an Extraordinary Means; T.J. Bole, III. The Catholic Tradition on the Use of Nutrition and Fluids; J. Paris. Appendices. The Prolongation of Life; Pope Pius XII. Declaration on Euthanasia; Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Index.
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