The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 23, Issue 2, Summer 2023

Recommendations for Revising the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services

Rev. Columba Thomas, OP, MD
Pages 267-283

Healing, Wholeness, and the Professional-Patient Relationship
A Commentary on Proposed Revisions to Part Three of the Ethical and Religious Directives

The proposed revisions to Part Three of the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs)—on the professional-patient relationship—call attention to a number of timely, culturally relevant issues that require an understanding of the dignity of the human person and the true health of body, mind, and spirit. Several key issues newly discussed in these proposed revisions include transgender policies, the question of referrals for unethical clinical interventions, and triage and limited-resource allocation protocols for crisis situations. This paper draws on the theological and philosophical basis for understanding the professional-patient relationship, especially in light of the metaphor of Christ the physician, in order to consider how the ERDs effectively address these key issues and promote true healing in Catholic health care.