Friday, August 7, 2009

Bioethics Matters: A Guide for Concerned Catholics

By Moira McQueen, 105 pages, $9.95.

This concise, informative book begins at the beginning – by introducing important underlying philosophical and theological currents to modern ethics. This includes utilitarianism, consequentialism, and pragmatism. These are the common ways of thinking in North America now.

When thinking about euthanasia, palliative care, abortion, or suicide, McQueen calls for a Catholic rather than utilitarian approach. When discussing reproductive technologies, McQueen turns to Donum Vitae and the Catholic view of personhood. She avoids starting an argument with philosophers – as this would be neverending - and wisely states that

“Personhood cannot be proved or disproved by philosophical argument; in fact, different jurisdictions have asserted that personhood begins at different times on the human development scale.”

McQueen spends a lot of time examining such tensions between current philosophical-ethical views and that of the Catholic Church.

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