Vatican unveils updated healthcare charter as new ethical questions arise [CNA]


Vatican City, Feb 10, 2017 / 04:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican has issued an updated version of their charter for healthcare workers, removing question marks from modern ethical concerns such as euthanasia and the creation of human-animal chimeras by offering a clear set of guidelines.

In the past 20 years “there have been two to situations, two events” that have made the production of a new healthcare charter necessary, Professor Antonio Gioacchino Spagnolo told CNA Feb. 6.

The first, he said, is “scientific progress. In these 20 years there has been a lot of scientific progress in the field of the beginning of life as well as in the phase of the end of life, in the context of living.”

But alongside advancements in science the Church’s Magisterium has also produced several texts dealing with new and current issues, offering an authoritative take on how they should be handled.

The charter, he said, “encompasses a sort of collection of the various positions there have been, the various pronouncements, keeping the progress of bio-medicine in mind.”

Spagnolo, director of the Institute of Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, spoke to journalists at the Feb. 6 presentation of the new charter, and played a key role in drafting the new text.

A first edition of the charter was published in 1994, but in the wake of broad scientific advancements and various updates in the Church’s Magisterium, the Holy See Monday rolled out the new version of the charter for healthcare workers.

Released to coincide with the annual World Day of the Sick celebrations taking place in Lourdes, the updated charter includes all magisterial documents published since 1994 and will be sent to bishops’ conferences around the world.

At roughly 150 pages including the index, the charter is structured much like the old edition, and is divided into three parts: Procreation, Life, and Death.

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