Bioethics

The National Catholic Bioethics Center provides education, guidance, and resources to the Church and society to uphold the dignity of the human person in health care and biomedical research.

The Archdiocese has partnered with the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC)

The benefits of this collaboration is to help pastors and their parishioners navigate ethical issues associated with health care, end of life care, abortion, contraception, gender ideology, physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, and other topics.

The NCBC provides reliable references, thorough explanations, and case-based guidance to form consciences with Catholic teaching when making health care decisions.

Monthly updates from the NCBC

July 2024
March 2024
February 2024

What Does the Church Teach About IVF?

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) has been in the news recently after a court in Alabama ruled that human embryos created through the procedure deserve the same legal protections as minors and unborn human life per an already existing state law. The ruling came following the loss (death) of embryos in an Alabama clinic due to mishandling. The case has left many, especially Catholics who affirm the basic science that human life begins at conception, wondering about how we ought to think about the status of embryonic human beings and IVF procedures.

NCBC Benefits:

Permission to print and distribute the NCBC’s three end-of-life guides at parishes:

A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decisions explains core concepts in medical decision-making, including redemptive suffering, ordinary and extraordinary means, and advance care planning. The guide also includes templates for a health care proxy and a living will.

A Catholic Guide to POLST provide guidance for filling out documents that patients can use to document their treatment preferences across multiple health care setting, including benefits and concerns with common forms. The guide also includes a template physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST).


A Catholic Guide to Palliative Care and Hospice describes the differences between palliative care and hospice and identifies common moral issues that can arise when receiving hospice. The guide also includes a checklist for evaluating programs and facilities.
 
Parishes are free to post the guides on their websites, place them in their vestibules, and pass them out at events.

The NCBC provides a monthly newsletter with helpful content for parish bulletin inserts:

The Bioethics Public Policy Report summarizes legislative, regulatory, and judicial developments on life issues at both the state and federal levels to help Catholics stay informed on all these topics and hold their representatives accountable to their values.

Living a Catholic Life fills a gap in adult catechesis by introducing parishioners to different tools for thinking like a Catholic. These include reflections on the components of the moral act, principles like double effect and totality, and larger concepts like the integrated view of the human person.

Making Sense of Bioethics, Fr. Tad Pacholczyk’s long-running, syndicated column, answers common question on topics ranging from ventilator support to helping friends and family through a difficult pregnancy.

Other benefits:

Links to NCBC newsletter archives of Living a Catholic LifeMaking Sense of Bioethics, and NCBC webinars. Pastors and their parishioners may use any of these NCBC resources in their parish ministries.

– Access resources for adult education and study groups by contacting Deacon Fred Totah at [email protected]  

– Tuition discounts are available on NCBC courses, seminars, and other NCBC-sponsored programs. Contact the NCBC Manager of Educational Program and Events Julie Kelley when you enroll at [email protected] or 215-871-2013.

– Access free professional consultation by contacting NCBC Personal Consultations Director John A. Di Camillo at [email protected] or 215-871-2001.

– Publicize the NCBC’s free consultation service to parishioners:

Free Service: Church Teaching for Health Care Decisions
The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) equips you with reliable references, thorough explanations, and case-based guidance so you can form your conscience with Catholic teaching when making health care decisions. This free service covers topics including end-of-life care, assisted nourishment, and hospice; avoiding, achieving, or managing pregnancy; biomedical research; cooperating with the wrongdoing of others; and many more.
Contact NCBC: 215-877-2660
www.ncbcenter.org/ask-a-question

The National Catholic Bioethics Center’s Mission and Vision

Our society faces unprecedented scientific developments that touch upon the mysteries of life and pose serious ethical challenges. The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) was established in 1972 to reflect on these issues and to promote and safeguard the dignity of the human person in health care and the life sciences. All of the NCBC’s work is done in conformity with the official teachings of the Catholic Church, teachings drawn from a moral tradition that acknowledges the unity of faith and reason and builds on the solid foundation of the natural law. The NCBC works to achieve its mission of upholding the dignity of the human person by providing education, guidance, and resources to strengthen the integrity and witness of the Church’s healing ministry.

The NCBC’s education draws on the deepest resources of the Catholic faith to help people address challenging ethical issues in clinical practice and research. Notably, since 1980, we have hosted a workshop on pressing issues and developments in the area of medical morality, which is attended by over one hundred bishops from across North America. The Center has always enjoyed the strong support of a large number of bishops. Today, a majority of US dioceses, and numerous foreign dioceses, receive the benefits of their affiliation with the NCBC.

The NCBC’s guidance helps individuals and institutions apply Catholic moral principles to specific situations with integrity. Perhaps most significant, our ethicists also are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide bioethical guidance, free of charge, to patients and families facing difficult medical decisions. The NCBC also is a leading publisher of books and articles on Catholic health care ethics and produces a wide range of electronic resources for professionals and the public.

The NCBC envisions a world in which the integral understanding of the human person underlying Catholic teaching on respect for human life and dignity is better understood and more widely embraced in America and worldwide.

For more information about the NCBC’s programs and services, please visit www.ncbcenter.org.

Contact Information for the NCBC:

Click here to learn more about ethicists, staff, and board of directors.

Care for the Whole Person Ministry

The end of life’s journey can be many things.  It is often a time of sorrow but it is also a time to celebrate the passage of a loved one into eternal life and remember a life well lived.  Creating an environment where the ill and dying feel loved, worthy and cared for is the effort of an initiative jointly developed by the Catholic Bishops of California and the state’s Catholic health care systems.

Known as the Whole Person Care Initiative, the partnership has begun building capacity among dioceses, parishes and Catholic health care ministries by offering training, promoting successful ministries, and raising the standards of palliative care in Catholic hospitals and health care ministries.  The Initiative will also encourage people to discuss their desires through the end of life before they are ill and will promote a thorough understanding of Catholic teachings and traditions.