This essay argues for a renewed institution of an ancient Christian practice, the Order of Widows. Drawing on the Roman Catholic tradition's recent writings on the elderly, particularly the 1998 document from the Pontifical Council for the Laity entitled "The Dignity of Older People and their Mission in the Church and in the World," I argue that we find within the Roman Catholic tradition advocacy for a renewed understanding of the vocation of the elderly within the Church.
"While contemporary Catholic health care and other not-for-profit health care institutions excel in quality, innovation and technology, they remain community-benefit organizations, founded and sustained because of community need," Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who chairs the board of trustees of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, said in May 26 testimony in Washington before the House Ways and Means Committee, which conducted a hearing on the tax-exempt hospital sector. Keehan chairs the board of Sacred Heart Health System in Pensacola, Fla.
Because they face a growing nursing shortage, many U.S. health care institutions have turned to recruiting foreign nurses. For foreign nurses, the practice is often an opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families. And it helps solve a serious problem for the U.S. organizations involved. But the recruitment of foreign nurses raises a number of ethical questions. The first article here examines the practice as seen from three viewpoints, the global, that of the particular recruiting health care organization, and that of the recruited foreign nurse.
Drawing chiefly on recent sources, in Part One I sketch an untraditional way of articulating what I claim to be central elements of traditional Catholic morality, treating it as based in virtues, focused on the recipients ("patients") of our attention and concern, and centered in certain person-to-person role-relationships. I show the limited and derivative places of "natural law," and therefore of sin, within that framework.
This article examines the account of the relationship between sin and suffering provided by J. L. A. Garcia in "Sin and Suffering in a Catholic Understanding of Medical Ethics," in this issue. Garcia draws on the (Roman) Catholic tradition and particularly on the thought of Thomas Aquinas, who remains an important resource for Catholic theology. Nevertheless, his interpretation of Thomas is open to criticism, both in terms of omissions and in terms of positive claims.
In this article, the place and the nature of an ethical dialogue that develops within Christian healthcare institutions in Flanders, Belgium is examined. More specifically, the question is asked how Christian healthcare institutions should position themselves ethically in a context of a pluralistic society. The profile developed by Caritas Catholica Flanders must take seriously not only the external pluralistic context of our society and the internal pluralistic worldviews by personnel/employees and patients, but also the inherent inspiration of a Christian healthcare institution.
Health care institutions, including Roman Catholic institutions, are in a time of crisis. This crisis may provide an important opportunity to reinvigorate Roman Catholic health care. The current health care crisis offers Roman Catholic health care institutions a special opportunity to rethink their fundamental commitments and to plan for the future. The author argues that what Catholic health care institutions must first do is articulate the nature of their identity and their commitments.
[I]nterest in animals as a source of organs and tissues for human beings remains strong. New developments in immunosuppression technology promise to lower the technical barriers to a routine use of nonhumans as organ donors, and the image of colonies of animals kept at the ready for supplying the growing human need for new organs seems a much more plausible scenario now than it did when broached by transplantation specialists in the Sixties. As Arthur Caplan has powerfully argued, the prospects that other sources of organs may resolve the supply problem are grim....
Can proposing a policy of equal access to health care be justified on Christian grounds? The notion of a "Christian justification" with regard to Christians' political activity is explored in relation to the New Testament texts. The less demanding policy of granting "rights to (basic) health care," the meaning of Jesus' healing activities, early Christian welfare schemes, and Christian grounds for the ascription of "rights" are each discussed.
Descriptively many Protestant perspectives on access to health care share much in common with secular accounts ... perhaps too much. A normative account of a Protestant perspective on access to health care must be perceptively qualified by the Christ story. A genuinely theocratic approach may not lead one to the conclusion that the faith commits us to the notion of equality; rather the faith commits us to the notion of care. What counts as care may not be the same in every instance (if this is indeed what equality means; in ordinary use, equality is tantamount to sameness).