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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 12, Issue 1, Spring 2012
The Principle of Totality and Integrity

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1. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Rev. Martin Rhonheimer Colloquy
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2. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Edward J. Furton, MA, PhD In This Issue
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3. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Richard M. Doerflinger Washington Insider
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essays
4. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Edward J. Furton Is There a Future for Universal Health Care?
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Catholics have been at the forefront of efforts over many years to secure universal access to health care in the United States. These efforts suf­fered a serious setback when the federal government enacted the Affordable Care Act and then quickly used it to assault rights of conscience. This assault has brought into serious question the once promising hope that a partnership might be forged between church and state to benefit those at the margins of society. Given recent events, Catholics and others are compelled to reassess their willingness to trust the power of government to carry out this aim in a manner that respects fundamental human rights, including the rights of religious believers. The words of our founders and framers, who warned against the dangers of an overbearing government, merit renewed attention. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.1 (Spring 2012): 27–36.
5. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Krishan M. Thadani The Myth of a Catholic Religious Objection to Autopsy: The Misinterpretation of De sepulturis during the Renaissance
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Was there resistance in the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages to human dissection? Was autopsy thought to be a desecration of the body? The belief that the Church is opposed to dissection was due in part to the misinterpretation of a papal bull issued during the fourteenth century. Dissection of a corpse and autopsy were never in fact decreed by the Church. Rejection of these was based not on Church teaching but on a perceived violation of social honor because of the unappealing public nature of the practices. To this day, the Catholic Church does not view dissection and autopsy as desecration of the body; the practices remain theologically compatible with Catholic doctrine. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.1 (Spring 2012): 37–42.
6. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
June Mary Z. Makdisi Application of the Principle of Totality and Integrity in American Case Law
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God presented each of us with the gift of human life, for which we each have a duty of stewardship. The complementary principles of totality and integrity provide moral guidance for decisions on whether specific acts are consistent with this obligation. Totality directs that anatomical completeness must not be sacrificed without proportional justification. Integrity focuses on maintaining basic human capacities and provides a hierarchical ordering of higher functions over lower functions for use in decision making. The decisions of secular American courts rely heavily on statutory authority and case precedent. This essay explores whether the moral principle of totality and integrity is reflected in judicial opinions. The first part examines judicial decisions in cases in which the plaintiff’s desired outcome was consistent with the principle of totality and integrity. The second part analyzes judicial decisions in which the desired outcome was not consistent with this moral principle. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.1 (Spring 2012): 43–54.
7. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Gina M. Sanchez Objections to Donation after Cardiac Death: A Violation of Human Dignity
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Organ transplantation offers many people who suffer from organ failure a chance to live longer. The Catholic Church, which has endorsed organ donation if it is practiced in an ethically acceptable manner, requires that unpaired vital organs be donated only after the donor is certainly dead. In an effort to increase the number of viable organs, a procedure called donation after cardiac death was introduced in the 1990s. This procedure violates the Roman Catholic moral teaching on the dignity of human life because it violates the dead donor rule and undermines the dignity of the dying person. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.1 (Spring 2012): 55–65.
articles
8. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Thomas J. Driscoll Jr. Preserving Totality and Integrity in Donation after Circulatory Determination of Death
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The permissibility of circulatory determination of death (CDD) preceding organ procurement remains controversial. This paper discusses the controversy and the liceity of irreversible circulatory cessation as a determinant of death. When specific protocols have been satisfied, including a waiting period of five minutes of asystole, CDD licitly signals the disintegration of the unitary and integrated whole that was the living human person. The author contends that after terminating disproportionate care, a surrogate may rely on irreversible circulatory cessation thus determined and may authorize organ donation, including limited pre-death procedures that are consonant with the dignity and well-being of the dying patient-donor. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.1 (Spring 2012): 69–84.
9. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Nicholas Tonti-Filippini Sex Reassignment and Catholic Schools
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The author was consulted by two Catholic schools in separate cases of a student and a teacher preparing to undergo sex reassignment. Such cases give rise to special ethical and pastoral concerns. This article discusses the disorders that may lead to sex reassignment, distinguishing between con­genital disorders of sex development (intersex conditions) and gender identity disorder (gender dysphoria). It also notes the ethical differences between the correction of congenital anomalies and interventions to relieve dysphoria: in the former, treatment is meant to restore as much normal function as possible; in the latter, mutilating intervention destroys what were otherwise healthy bodily functions. In Catholic schools, concern for the well-being of an affected student or teacher is required, as is a clear understanding of the condition being treated, the ethical implications of treatment, the privacy issues, the effects on other students and staff, and the effects on a teacher’s ability to give faithful witness to Catholic teaching. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.1 (Spring 2012): 85–97.
10. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
David Lang Elective Child Circumcision and Catholic Moral Principles
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The ethical propriety of routine male infant circumcision has been debated in journals of medicine and law for many years. This article explores the issue from historical, medical, and moral perspectives. Two essentially different forms of circumcision (one more drastic than the other) are distinguished. Discussion focuses on the effects of the more radical kind of nontherapeutic surgery on a normal healthy child’s body: whether it constitutes a mutilation, whether it is medically warranted, and whether it is ethically defensible in light of general philosophical principles and Catholic moral doctrine. The conclusion questions the social bias favoring parental choice to circumcise a non-consenting son. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.1 (Spring 2012): 99–128.