Saturday, October 13, 2007

Locke Lectures by Christine Korsgaard

From the SEP entry for Practical Reason and Structure of Actions:


Korsgaard, C., The Locke Lectures 2002:
Lecture One: The Metaphysical Foundations of Normativity [PDF]
Lecture Two: Practical Reason and the Unity of the Will [PDF]
Lecture Three: Autonomy, Efficacy, and Agency [PDF]
Lecture Four: Expulsion from the Garden: The Transition to Humanity [PDF]
Lecture Five:The Constitutional Model, and Bad Action [PDF]
Lecture Six: Integrity and Interaction [PDF]


Harvard page; interview; Philosophy Dept. page
Fellow Creatures: Kantian Ethics and Our Duties to Animals


(Ok so I did see her at the Broadie lectures this past Spring. I did wonder if she was a hippie in the 70s, or if she picked up her look being an academic at Harvard in Cambridge, MA.)

New name for CAI


Catholic Apologetics International has been renamed the Bellarmine Theological Forum. Same url though.

Why St. Robert Bellarmine? Apologist... and also because of the geocentrism connection?

Letter from Cardinal Bellarmine to Galileo (May 1616)
The Galileo Affair
The Galileo Project | Christianity | Robert Cardinal Bellarmine

The book by Robert Sungenis and Robert Bennett can be found here:
www.geocentrism.com
or at the BTF website.

Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right
Vol. 1 : The Scientific Case for Geocentrism
Hardcover Book + Free CD-ROM* : $45.50

Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right
Vol. 2 : The HistoricalCase for Geocentrism
Hardcover Book + Free CD-ROM* : $40.50

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Zenit interview with Fr. Schall, part 3

Regensburg Revisited (Part 3): Interview With Father James Schall

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 11, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's Regensburg lecture not only pinpoints the heart of the current international situation, but also reality itself, says Father James Schall.

In the third and final part of this interview with ZENIT, Father Schall, a professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University, comments on what he says is one of the most important discourses of modern times.

He is the author of "The Regensburg Lecture," published by St. Augustine's Press. Part 1 of this interview appeared Tuesday, Part 2 on Wednesday.

Q: How do you see the Regensburg lecture in relation to John Paul II's encyclical "Fides et Ratio"?

Father Schall: What Benedict XVI sees is the fundamental importance of "Fides et Ratio" on a world scale, not just with Islam, which was something new in John Paul II's time.

John Paul II was rightly taken up with fascism, Marxism and the moral status of the West. John Paul did collaborate with Muslims in several U.N. conferences -- Cairo, Beijing -- especially about the family, in spite of the differences between Muslim and Christian views on what the family is.

"Fides et Ratio" is the consequence, as it were, of the other two stages of de-Hellenization in Western thought. The second step was with von Harnack who took the consequences of denying that Jesus was divine. He was just human, a nice man. He was a leader or prophet or voice, but he was not the God-man, not the incarnate "Logos." Thus we did not need theology to understand him; rather, we need the social and historical sciences.

Benedict XVI, as he indicates in his book "Jesus of Nazareth," is often concerned with the claim of scholarship to unearth the fundamentals of faith by science's own methods alone. All it can unearth is what is known by the methods, so more and more fundamental things are left out as such scholarship claims priority.

"Fides et Ratio" is a long, incisive analysis of modern philosophy alongside of the question of what kind of philosophy will enable us to understand what is really revealed.

The very notion of a "Christian philosophy" arises from the need to understand in terms of reason just what was said in revelation. The use of a Greek word, not a scriptural word, at the Council of Nicaea, as the Pope said, indicated that under the pressure of understanding revelation, the philosophical experience could be fundamental.

Faith and philosophy are not in contradiction, but are related to grasp the whole of reality. Both are necessary. This is why pure Scripture is not enough even to understand Scripture's own positions. As Chesterton remarked at the end of "Heretics," it would be revelation, not reason, which, in the end, said that the grass is green, that reason in faith alone would affirm the ordinary things of reality that the modern philosophers could no longer comprehend.

Q: In your book, and in the Holy Father's lecture, there is no effort to "turn back the clock" and deny the achievements of modernism. In what ways do you see an integration of the old and the new?

Father Schall: First of all the term "modernism" is generally meant to be a declaration of independence of modern thought from what is past, Greek or scholastic. However, thought in modernity more and more loses its moorings in an ordered reality.

As the Pope points out, the third de-Hellenization is what we call "multiculturalism," a belief that there is no real truth in any culture so that there are no fundamental issues between civilizations or religions, only a kind of tolerance about truth's impossibility.

Despite the claim that multicultural tolerance does not involve violence, its very system contains within itself a tradition within history that does claim that violence is in fact justified by voluntarist premises. In other words, on a purely multicultural theory, there is no reason why voluntarism is not a legitimate position as there is really nothing to oppose it except power.

The Pope repeats several times that he does not want to "go back," but he does wish to distinguish what is good and what is not in modern thought and culture.

Rommen said that the natural law is perennial, that is, it keeps coming back when we reach positions within a culture that normal men of common sense can see clearly wrong. The objective standard keeps calling disorder and injustice to our attention. The Regensburg lecture is an intellectual challenge. This is why it is precisely an academic lecture and not an encyclical; it insists we face the truth and falsity in any culture on the basis of "logos," of reason.

You will notice that the Pope brings in the notion of the fascination with mathematics that we found in Plato. He addresses the scientific mind directly and tells it that its discoveries are based on the fact that mathematics and its many sophistications work in reality. There must be a correspondence between principles of reality and principles of mathematics.

Why is there this correspondence if there is not a realistic philosophy to explain why? And if there is this correspondence, why is there not an ultimate mind that orders all things found with mathematics as well as with its own systems? Much current literature is based on the claims of a new kind of atheism, one that often lacks the intellectual rigor of more classic forms. The confidence of modern atheism does not face the strange correspondences between mind and reality that even science cannot avoid.

The problem with science is not only what it is, but what are we going to do with it? The classic Greeks were said to have known all sorts of inventions but chose not to pursue them because they understood the dangers they might entail for human living itself.

The Regensburg lecture gives science and technology their due by pointing out that they are not everything, but what they do is valid for a certain aspect of things. They can only explain what falls to their competence.

Philosophy, ethics, theology and poetry all reach to realities that are not direct objects of science, to things that are essentially spiritual and nonmaterial. The human intellect transcends its own being to be concerned with all that is.

We are bewildered if we think that science can explain everything, but this does not mean that what it cannot explain is therefore not explicable. It rather means that other insights and ways of knowing have their own validity.

The word of the Pope to science is not "don't be scientific" in the proper sense. It is rather to stop limiting itself to only one concept of reason, a very narrow concept. This concept is good as far as it goes. But it is one that excludes by definition most of the important things men are concerned with.

The Regensburg lecture takes us to the heart not only of current events, but also to the heart of reality itself. Philosophy and revelation are not enemies of each other, but are directed at one another. The exaltation of man by revelation does not imply that he is not what he is created to be, a rational animal, one who does all he does by "logos," by reason.

Man is the glory of God in the sense that God can address his word to him and he can know and comprehend because he is created with the power to know the truth of things. The moral and political life of man is designed to enable us to know what is addressed to us from reason and even, if it happens, from revelation.

What seems clear about the Regensburg lecture is that the best place to understand our times is in the heart of Rome itself. Here, in the native tongues of recent Popes, in Polish, or German, and, yes, Latin, they speak to us of what it means to be human, to be beings addressed by God in both reason and revelation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Zenit interview with Fr. Schall, part 2

Regensburg Revisited (Part 2): Interview With Father James Schall

By Carrie Gress

ROME, OCT. 10, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's Regensburg lecture, given Sept. 12, 2006, was not only directed at the question of Islam, but also the weaknesses of modern Western philosophy, says Jesuit Father James Schall.

The professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University is the author of "The Regensburg Lecture," published by St. Augustine's Press.

In Part 2 of this interview with ZENIT, Father Schall comments on what he says is one of the most important discourses of modern time.

Part 1 of this interview appeared Tuesday. Part 3 will appear Thursday.

Q: The Holy Father included in his lecture a discussion of the roots of voluntarism, a theological idea that attempts to put no limits on God, defying even reason. What role does this factor play in Islam as well as in non-Muslim thought?

Father Schall: This question, of course, was already in Greek and medieval philosophy. It exists as a perennial issue for the human mind to resolve. Voluntarism did not originate with Islam, except perhaps in the sense that nowhere else has it been carried out with such logical consistency and backed by such force. "Voluntarism" here means not the spontaneous effort to do something to help others of which the Pope spoke in "Deus Caritas Est," but the philosophic and theological idea that the will is superior to the intellect and is not subject to reason.

The Pope is quite careful to note that the same problem exists in the West via Duns Scotus, the great medieval philosopher and theologian. It goes from him to William of Ockham, to Niccolò Machiavelli and to Thomas Hobbes, and onward into modern political philosophy. I have just been reading with a class Heinrich Rommen's most insightful book "The Natural Law," which spells out in much detail why legal voluntarism stands at the basis of modern positivism and historicism, subjects that Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin were concerned with.

From this point of view, the Regensburg lecture was directed at the heart of Europe and America, to those "justifications" that are in fact used by its laws and customs to justify the killing of the innocent. The Socratic principle that "it is never right to do wrong" still remains the bedrock of a philosophy not based on pure will.

Pure will can justify anything because it has evaporated any nature or order from man and the universe. Voluntarism allows no grounding for absolute principles of human dignity. If it is asked, if I might surmise a guess, why the Pope chose to begin his lecture with the conversation of the Greek Byzantine Emperor in the 1300's with a Persian gentleman, it was because it enabled him graphically to state the most pressing issue of our time, not merely "is it reasonable to extend religion by violence," but is it reasonable to use this violence on any innocent human being.

This is where the Islamic problem, in fact, is substantially the same as the Western problem. Both systems have to resort to a voluntaristic theory of state and being to explain why they are not immoral for using violence against those who are innocent and protected by the divine and natural law itself.

We miss the point if we think voluntarism is not a theoretic system that seeks to praise God in the highest possible way. Voluntarism means that there is no nature or order behind appearances. Everything can be otherwise. Everything that happens occurs because God or Allah positively chose it, but who could have chosen the exact opposite.

Some philosophers, not just Muslim, think that God cannot be limited in any way, even by the principle of contradiction. He can make right wrong, or even make hatred of God his will. It sounds strange to hear this position at first. But once we grant its first principle, that will is higher than intellect, and governs it, everything follows.

This theory is why so-called Muslim terrorists claim and believe that they are in fact following Allah's will. They might even be acting on a good, if erroneous, conscience. Allah wants the whole world to worship him in the order laid down in the Koran.

The world cannot be settled until this conversion to Islam happens, even if it takes centuries to accomplish. This submission to Allah is conceived to be a noble act of piety. There is in voluntarist principles nothing contradictory if Allah orders the extension of his kingdom by violence, since there is no objective order that would prevent the opposite of what is ordered from being ordered the next day.

Again, I must say, that behind wars are theological and philosophical problems that must be spelled out and seen for what they are. This spelling out is what the Regensburg lecture is about.

Q: Explain why the Pope cites the recovery of a particular kind of reason? He speaks of a "re-Hellenization," or a return to Greek philosophy, as the solution to the current crisis of civilization.

Father Schall: Actually, the central part of the lecture was rather on the "de-Hellenization" of western culture and what it meant.

The Pope indicated three states: 1) the Reformation position that there was too much philosophy in Catholicism, so that what was needed was a return to the pure Jesus, without the philosophy.

2) The second was the result of the denial of the divinity of Christ, so that, with Adolf von Harnak, Christ was just a man to be studied by science in the universities.

3) The third was in effect multiculturalism, that there was no possible unity on the basis of principle or reason. Everyone was right within his own system.

The tradition from even the Old Testament, as the Pope sketched out, was rather that revelation itself pointed to Greek philosophy. In the case both of Genesis and the Prologue of John, the very term "Logos" was the form in which God chose to speak to us, in the word.

The very definition of God -- "I Am" -- was clearly something that was comprehensible in a philosophy itself based on reason. The Pope is quite careful to note that Paul's turning to Macedonia and not to some other culture had to do with a providential decision about what it means to comprehend revelation, particularly the Incarnation and the Trinity, the two basic doctrines that are denied in all other religions and philosophies.

It is because of the unique contribution of Europe that this relation was hammered out, particularly by St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas and their heritage. To receive revelation of the word, of the inner life of the Godhead, we must have a preparation, a philosophy that allows us to comprehend what it being revealed to us. Not all philosophies do this, which is why it makes a difference what philosophy we understand to be true.

The Pope pointed out that for Kant, reason and revelation are not any longer directly related as being addressed to each other. Faith and reason are two separate things, with no possibility of mutual comprehension, however minimal. Kant is the origin of much subsequent philosophy that has been perplexed, as Gilson showed in his famous "Unity of Philosophic Experience," by how to put things back together again.

The small error in the beginning leads to a large error in the end, as Aristotle taught us. This Kantian, and before it Cartesian, background too is the origin of the two different concepts of "reason" that the Pope made the key question of modern intelligence and of intelligence itself. The logic of the Reformation's position on philosophy and its relation to theology led to an attempt to have a pure human Jesus without any real basis in reason to explain why it is credible to believe in him.

The Pope wants to do two things. First he wants to defend science within its own competency, and second he wants science to abandon the "self-limitation" of itself that cannot see the reality of nonmathematical things because being is not limited only to things that can be measured.

This broader openness to human truths that can be known by intuitive reason, love, friendship, suffering or hope is why the Eastern and other religions think the West because of its scientific narrowness has lost its soul, as it appears from their vices, that they have.

Scientific reason, which is not coextensive with reason in its fullness, cannot speak to what really counts in human existence. This distinction between two kinds of reason gives an even greater insight into what this Pope is about. What he is really doing is seeking for grounds, which have to be reason, by which we can approach all religions and cultures, including Europe itself, busily losing not only its soul but its very bodies, as population decline shows.

Zenit interview with Fr. Schall, part 1

Regensburg Revisited (Part 1): Interview With Father James Schall

By Carrie Gress

ROME, OCT. 9, 2007 (Zenit.org).- When one interprets Benedict XVI's Regensburg lecture, which he delivered more than one year ago, as simply an address on Islam, one misses the point, says Father James Schall.

The professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University is the author of "The Regensburg Lecture," published by St. Augustine's Press.

In this part 1 of this interview with ZENIT, Father Schall comments on the Pope's remarks regarding Islam question, but then more importantly, the deeper point of the lecture.

Parts 2 and 3 of this interview will appear Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Q: Just over a year has passed since Benedict XVI's Regensburg lecture was delivered, followed by an international outcry from some Muslim circles. Was it the Islamic response that prompted you to write this book or was there something else?

Father Schall: Actually, I had read the address before the Islamic response, which took some time to orchestrate. I do not think it was a "spontaneous" reaction.

When I first read the lecture, a day or so after it was available to the public, I went to my class and told them frankly that it was the most important address in modern times. It put everything together. I was not exaggerating.

The Islamic context of the lecture was merely an introduction to what has proved to be an insight into Benedict XVI's overall agenda, namely, the grounds on which we approach all religions, cultures and philosophies in the name of their truth, in the name of all truth, including the truth of revelation.

Benedict XVI's sights are by no means narrow. He knows that besides the world of Islam, where most Christians have either left or been driven out, Christianity has only a minimal presence in the great Chinese, Hindu, Buddhist and modern philosophical worlds.

The Pope is seeking a way to see what these worlds have in common and to establish a basis from which each can be addressed in well-grounded terms that cannot be ignored.

Of course, the Islamic reaction quickly made this lecture known throughout the world, something the militants might have had second thoughts about had they realized what they were doing. Many wanted to chastise Benedict XVI for being "imprudent" or "insensitive." But he was neither.

He addressed an issue that did, to be sure, come to world attention because of Islamic militancy. This issue was stated succinctly: "Is it reasonable, or does God will, to spread one's religion by violence?" This was a question asked by practically everyone in the world who thought of the implications of "suicide bombings," or about the earlier holy wars -- jihad -- in Islamic history, wars largely, though not exclusively, against Christian lands. The issue is the deliberate choice of violent means as the proper way to propagate a religion, together with a theological justification to do so.

The Pope pointed out that within the Koran itself we can find two different answers to the question: one that says "no," one that says "yes." The current turmoil in the world is caused by those in Islam who answer "yes" to this question.

The Pope showed a singular courage in his response to the uproar. He did not back down. He merely said that if anyone was offended by the very posing of the question, he was sorry. But it is not legitimate to be "offended" by a serious question, formally posed, in search to the truth of an issue in an academic setting.

But what first interested me in this lecture was Benedict XVI's more basic concern. This was Europe and the modern scientific mind.

To think that Islam was his main target misses the more penetrating issue that the lecture raised, namely, is the same root cause that justifies suicide bombings at work among us theoretically justifying, by the same philosophic principles, the widespread violent killing of innocent lives?

Militant Islam makes no bones about the idea that it intends to conquer the world for Allah. Thus, there is something starkly simple about Islam, its constant effort since its beginning to submit the whole world to Allah. We tend to think this is fanatical or outlandish. But to many Muslim minds, it is perfectly logical and indeed a basis of action. What the Pope was concerned about was the basis of this claim.

Q: In the book, you compare Benedict XVI's visit with Pope John Paul II's first visit back to Poland. What are the similarities?

Father Schall: John Paul II's first visit to Poland was the revelation of the power of truth against a tyrannical system. It was more than that.

Together with U.S. President Ronald Reagan's insistence of showing the Soviets that they could not keep up in the area of military balance, and the internal decline of morals and will in the Soviet citizens, the Polish Pope's brave and firm presence was something that Poles and the world simply wanted to see, wanted to be there. It was a sign that there was something else in the world but political power. Very few western thinkers predicted the collapse of the Soviet system.

By the time of Benedict XVI's Regensburg visit the whole focus of the world had shifted to suicide bombers, to efforts to pacify Islamic terrorism, either by war or by covert or political action.

The initial political reaction to 9/11 was one that sought to find the terrorists who irrationally caused this astonishing feat of blowing up, before our very eyes, two of the world's largest and most famous buildings in one of the most famous cities in the world.

Subsequent bombings in Madrid, London, Bali, Paris and elsewhere suddenly made the war not between opposing armies but, like the famous raids of the Barbary Coast pirates, sudden incursions out of almost anywhere on almost any target.

A new form of war has been developed which cannot really be explained in traditional western sociological or moral terms. This situation suggests, as the Pope understood, that a much more fundamental analysis of what is going on is required.

What is of importance is that what he found to be the central cause was not something peculiarly Islamic, though it was that too. Islamic philosophy and western philosophy, not to mention Eastern philosophy, often had similar intellectual roots and presuppositions. This is why it is not correct to view this lecture as simply concerned with Islam. It strikes very much closer to home.

Just as John Paul II's first visit to Poland was a kind light in the darkness of despair about ever doing anything about Marxism, so the Regensburg visit of Benedict XVI was a brilliant flash over the whole of intellectual history telling us what was really at stake. Good politicians trying to do something about terrorism cannot proceed, really, until they know exactly what it is they are opposing.

The fact is, it is not terrorism, a sort of vague abstraction. In this sense politics depends on mind. The Regensburg lecture, as Socrates reminded us in the "Gorgias," addresses real politics by addressing the issue of why men act as they do and their reasons for doing so.

Q: You called the lecture "one of the fundamental tractates of our time." Why is that?

Father Schall: The Regensburg lecture has this quality of suddenly illuminating whole fields of knowledge because it knows what belongs where, what the issues are, what is at stake in understanding our times in theoretical terms.

I have even suggested that this lecture brings up again the medieval issue of the harmony of the two swords. That is, what is lacking in the civil discussion is intelligibility of what is at stake, of what in fact is going on.

If we reduce the issue to one of violence by fanatics, we will never understand why political or military solutions, however also needed, as here, will not get to the heart of the problem.

This heart consists in understanding what is going on from a theoretical and theological point of view. The political order is disordered because the order of the soul is disordered, as Plato taught us. It is no accident that Benedict cited Socrates twice in the lecture and found the heart of what he has to say on the side of reason coming from classical Greek philosophy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Holy See on Religious Liberty and Peace

Holy See on Religious Liberty and Peace

"Openness to Transcendence a Guarantee of Human Dignity"


NEW YORK, OCT. 7, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Archbishop Dominique Mamberti gave Friday to the general assembly at the United Nations about the role of religion in the peace effort.

* * *

Address by H.E. Archbishop Dominique Mamberti
Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States

62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly

High-level Dialogue on Interreligious and
Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace

New York, 5 October 2007

Mr. President,

Three times in the last two decades, leaders of the world’s religions gathered at the invitation of the late Pope John Paul II in Assisi, the City of Saint Francis, a person recognized by many as a symbol of reconciliation and brotherhood. There they prayed and offered a common witness for peace. In 1986, they reflected on the roots of peace in the common origin and destiny of humankind. In 1993, they stressed, in particular, that violence in the name of religion is an offence against God. In January 2002, following 9/11, they reaffirmed that violence and terrorism are incompatible with authentic religion. In the recent words of Pope Benedict XVI, Assisi tells us that faithfulness to one’s own religious convictions is not expressed in violence and intolerance [according to whom?], but in sincere respect for others, in dialogue and in an announcement that appeals to freedom and reason while remaining committed to peace and reconciliation.

Religion as a factor of peace

Religion, in fact, is essentially a herald of peace.

The use of violence cannot be attributed to religion as such, but to the cultural limitations in which religions are lived and develop in time. For instance, it is well known that, in recent history, political leaders have sometimes manipulated religious identity and that some nationalist movements have utilized religious differences to garner support for their causes. Religion has also been used as a vehicle for violent protest where states have failed to provide development and justice for their people and have blocked other channels of dissent.

However, historic traditions of spiritual discernment, asceticism and service contribute to directing religious fervor away from violence and toward the good of the larger society. Theological reflection submits to critique views tending toward extremism. Philosophical questioning and historical scholarship help religion to deepen its search for truth and show its reasonableness, thus facilitating dialogue and consolidating the impact of religion on peace building and on society as a whole.

Mr. President,

There cannot be peace without understanding and cooperation among religions. There cannot be understanding and cooperation among religions without religious liberty.

The safeguarding and promotion of religious liberty for all requires both state action and religious responsibility.

The role of political authorities

States and International Organizations are called to adhere to and enforce the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and allied international instruments, such as "The Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion and Belief."

The full exercise of the right to religious freedom is based on respect for human reason and its capacity to know the truth; it ensures openness to transcendence as an indispensable guarantee of human dignity [this can be found in DH]; it allows all religions to manifest their own identity publicly, free from any pressure to hide or disguise it. Religious freedom includes the right to disseminate one’s own faith and the right to change it. [And so do Catholics have the right to push for changes as well? Or is there an ultimate standard of truth by which all such changes must be measured?] Respect for religious liberty would unmask the pretense of some terrorists to justify their unjustifiable actions on religious grounds.

If violence still arises between religious groups, anti-incitement programs in civil society should be supported, especially when they are initiated by local groups in cross-religious alliances. Anti-incitement activities include education, mobilization of religious leaders, mass movements opposing hate speech and other public acts calculated to spur sectarian violence.

Religious minorities do not pretend special protection or status, as long as their right to religious freedom is fully guaranteed and they are not discriminated against on religious grounds. In fact, they should enjoy the same civil rights as the general population and members of the majority religion, e.g., for the construction and repair of places of worship.[Does this part go beyond DH though?]

Interreligious responsibilities

Mr. President,

Fruitful high-level international gatherings of religious leaders aimed at praying for and promoting peace should be replicated at national and local levels. Indeed, prayer and good intentions are authentic only if they translate into practical gestures at all levels.

If religions want to build peace, they must teach forgiveness. In fact, there is no peace without justice, and there is no justice without forgiveness.

Religious communities can also make a positive contribution to peace by educating their own members in their teachings on peace and solidarity.

The promotion of interreligious programs focused on development cooperation can also foster dialogue and make significant contributions to peacemaking in societies afflicted by conflict, working with local groups in anti-incitement, peace and nonviolence education, conflict transformation and negotiation.

Mr. President,

At a time when the so-called clash of civilizations is gaining currency in some quarters, religions have a special role to play in blazing new paths to peace, in union with one another and in cooperation with states and international organizations. To empower religions to fully assume this role, all of us must work together to ensure that religious freedom is recognized, safeguarded and fostered by all and everywhere. If this high-level dialogue is to bear fruit, our message today must get out of the confines of this hall to reach and touch each and every person and community of believers throughout the world.

Thank you, Mr. President.

[Text adapted]


How many questionable assertions can one find in this? And with this sort of rhetoric concerning religious freedom being issued from the Curia, is it any wonder that people have a confused notion of what genuine religious liberty is?

Zenit: Cardinal Lozano Barragán on Future of Health Care

Cardinal Lozano Barragán on Future of Health Care

"Putting Technology at the Service of Man"


ROME, OCT. 6, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address delivered by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, during a conference co-sponsored by the Vatican dicastery and the Acton Institute, titled "Health, Technology and Common Good." It was held at the Pontifical Gregorian University on Oct. 28.

* * *

My Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been honored to welcome all of you into this one-day conference which reflects themes based on Health, Technology, and Common Good. Well, I shall do this duty with pleasure, on behalf of the joint organizers of this Conference: The Acton Institute and the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.

First of all, it is my duty to welcome all the distinguished speakers of the day. We have a wide spectrum of topics as well as experts for each session. So let us give all of them a hearty welcome and wish that they will enlighten us throughout the day. Then, to all the participants so that the reflections of today will lead us to more fruitful action in the future.

I have been asked to present "The Future for Health Care: Putting Technology at the Service of Man." Well, I am to do that presentation in two divided sessions, one in the beginning as I am doing now, and the other at the end of the day as closing remarks.

Part I: Introduction

Therefore, at this moment I shall try to introduce briefly the day's theme: Health, Technology and the Common Good. First of all, there needs to be a clear understanding of what health is; because technology must be oriented to health, and to the future of care health. I am sure Monsignor Jean Laffite is an expert to explain it to us in detail. It has been my experience as the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care that there is a lot of confusion regarding health, even among political leaders as well as Church leaders. Many bishops from all over the world, when they come to visit the Pontifical council, had asked me to present for them what does it mean health today, especially when there are lot of technological developments. So I prepared especially for them a short volume called "Metabioethics and Biomedicine."

My point is there are people who seriously want to understand clearly what health is, especially at this period of globalization, when they are bombarded with partial or unclear information, especially from various international organizations, NGOs and other associations who are involved in health care. There is clearly a paradigm shift in the ethical reflection on health. This so called "New Paradigm" is supposed to be the official thought of the United Nations and its various bodies like WHO and UNESCO.[1] It is supported by four NGOs in particular: "Women's Environment and Development Organization," "Earth Council," "Green Peace" and "International Planned Parenthood Federation."

According to its proponents the objective of the new global ethics is to achieve global well-being within the confines of sustainable development. This global well-being is what forms the target also known as World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL) and is defined as: "the perception by the individual of his position in life, within the context of the culture and system of values in which he finds himself, and in relation to his goals, expectations, models and interests."

It covers six areas: 1. Physical health, 2. Psychological health, 3. Level of independence, 4. Social relations, 5. Context (economy, freedom, security, information, participation, environment, traffic, climate, transport…) 6. Spirituality. Aside from social duties, the basic factors are autonomy and self-determination.

One of the precepts of this new paradigm is "Health For All". Health for all is defined as at Alma Ata: "the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

It requires ten aspects: health education, adequate nutrition, clean drinking water, basic health care, maternal infant care, immunization against the major contagious diseases, prevention and control of local endemic diseases, suitable treatment in the event of common disasters and illnesses, access to basic medicines and reproductive health.

Although apparently there are values in this new paradigm shift what is basically wrong is an ideology that is "closed to the transcendent." First of all, there is an ethical subjectivism and relativism. Since there no objective validity in their argument those who hold to this thinking concentrate their activities above all in "lobbies," to seek or buy consensus. Their thinking is based on a distinction made between the human being or individual and the person. In any case, there are only rights for the person, not for the human being or the individual.

One is a person only when he acts as such in the complex world of interrelationships of sensorial, mental, conscious, social activities, symbolic gestures, etc. If, at any given moment, someone is not capable of acting as such, he ceases to be a person and is simply a human being or an individual, deprived of any right that could be described as human right. This gives rise to questions related to health issues of the individual in relation to technological advancement, especially concerning the right to life of the fertilized egg, the human state of the "pre-embryo" or the embryo, the right to abortion, the ban on eugenics, euthanasia, etc.

As background of this way of thinking we find the confusion between well-being and happiness. And also the concept of liberty as something absolute and closed in itself.

In contrast with the position of the New Paradigm, we can approach to the authentic concept of health such as is described by the servant of God John Paul II: According him health is a tension towards harmony at the physical, psychological, spiritual and social level, and not mere absence of illness, and which enables man to fulfill his God-given mission in the stages of life he finds himself.[2]

Part II: The Future of Health-Care: Putting Technology at the Service of Man.

Following this pontifical description of health, what will be the future of the technology in the field of health, if it will be authentic progress?

Addressing the participants of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, Pope Benedict XVI said: "The health of the human being, of the whole human being, was the sign chosen by Christ to manifest God's closeness, his merciful love, which heals the mind, the soul and the body…. Going to the aid of the human being is a duty: both in response to a fundamental right of the person and because the care of individuals redounds to the benefit of the group. Medical science makes progress to the extent that it is willing to constantly discuss diagnosis and methods of treatment, in the knowledge that it will be possible to surpass the previous data acquired and the presumed limits. Moreover, esteem for and confidence in health-care personnel are proportionate to the certainty that these official guardians of life will never condemn a human life, however impaired it may be, and will always encourage endeavors to treat it. Consequently, treatment should be extended to every human being, meaning throughout his or her entire existence. The modern conception of health care is in fact human advancement: from the treatment of the sick person to preventive treatment, with the search for the greatest possible human development, encouraging an adequate family and social environment."[3]

Therefore, when we speak about putting technology at the service of man we are considering humanity as such and for the common good in general. As the Second Vatican Council had observed, "Every day human interdependence grows more tightly drawn and spreads by degrees over the whole world. As a result the common good, that is, the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment, today takes on an increasingly universal complexion and consequently involves rights and duties with respect to the whole human race. Every social group must take account of the needs and legitimate aspirations of other groups, and even of the general welfare of the entire human family."[4]

In today's globalized world we need to think in terms of human connectivity. Some of the modern technologies in health care themselves are connecting human race. An example is "eHealth" or health-care delivery supported by information technology, of digital data -- transmitted, stored and retrieved electronically -- in support of health care, both at the local level and at a distance.

Internet has helped connect so many medical personnel by providing information on the latest achievements in health technologies, thanks to servers installed by medical faculties and medical journals. Another example would be "Telemedicine."

When the patient and doctor are in far away places, they could use modern communication technologies (two way interactive consultation and digital image/data transmission) to send radiology images, laboratory reports, medical records, etc.

Telemedicine has proven very efficient, especially in emergency situations like NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) intervening in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, or the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. In 1994 they have improved it into ACTS or Advanced Communication Technology Satellite.

In 1996 TIP (Portable Telemedicine Instrumentation Pack) was made available for easy transportation by health care personnel. Today we can speak of telesugery, teleradiology, teledentistry, teledermitology, telepathology, teleoncology, telepsycology, telecardiology, teleneurology, telenursing, etc.

The European Health Telematics Observatory's (EHTO) assertion is illustrative: health telematics activities are used by hospitals (34%), telephone utilities (14%), academic institutions (12%), clinicians (12%), governments (7%) and social services (4%).[5]

Some of the technologies enhance the past groundbreaking achievements in health care science: the concept about "public health", Epidemiology and its branches like Neuron Epidemiology, Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Cancer Epidemiology, etc., Health Economics and Health Management and so on. This last one branch has helped form health policies where there is awareness that spending on health care "is not an expenditure but an investment." This has also helped strategies of preventive and promotive measures in health care.

During my pastoral visits around the world, it is very heartening for me to see dozens of immaturely born children being cared in the incubators by well-trained, diligent and gentle health care personnel; or hundreds of children born to HIV infected mothers saved due to the timely administration of AZT. In the same way the news coming from a country in Africa that the death toll could be reduced to 1 from an average of 26 every month, thanks to the assistance they are getting from the Good Samaritan Foundation for the purchase of anti-retroviral medicine as well as basic nutrients.

Technology and Bioethics

What are the main principles that must lead the future of health technology? We try to answer regarding the biomedical field. As a general principle we can establish this; that which builds man is good, and that which destroys him is bad.

We know that Biomedical technology holds a great deal of promise in the areas of diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Strong health care systems invariably rely heavily on access to and use of health technologies. But we must also be aware of the fact that technology and medicine are only a part of the health care system and undue insistence on their capabilities may give more emphasis in meeting the demands of the providers than that of the human persons. The ultimate criterion in the use of all technologies must be the good of man. Everything technologically possible need not be ethically oriented. For this, ultimately we need a bioethics that is open to the transcendent.

In discussing the sciences of life and reflecting on the experimental sciences that manipulate life, one wonders about correct human behaviour in relation to human life, deficiency in human life, increase in human life, improvement in human life, procedures to be followed to obtain this improvement and deviations to be avoided. As a final condition, we find ourselves before the binomial necessity-satisfaction. This means that there is a living subject that aspires at improving himself, to do this he must journey along a path, and to do this he must plot the path, and to do this he must first know where he is heading for. Within the context of life, it is necessary to know what life is, what is the better life that one desires, the path to be followed and the path to be avoided in this journey, for instead of donating life, it could be taken away. In other words, biotechnology appears as a project for the building of man through the life and health sciences, that can build or destroy.

The horizon for Ethics in itself is finality. The horizon of Technology is only the possibility. The technology itself, is neuter, can build or destroy man. All depends from its direction, and the direction is given to Technology by Ethics. Therefore, in order to have a true code of bioethics, which provides us with rules of behaviour in the area of health and life, the first, question we must ask ourselves concerns the project for man, which involves the manipulation of life and health. Authentic Bioethics must appear as the project to improve human life and includes all the life and health sciences as its base, as that "intus legere" (inte-lecto, reading from inside) which in any analysis always concerns the final synthesis of what cannot be anything other than the construction of human life.

For a vital project to function (like any other project), it is necessary to understand the living reality that expects improvement as much as possible. This is a path that belongs to Bioethics. Here, we find rules which cannot simply be formulations or imperatives external to the person, instead they are real constructions of the same person and which little by little bring it nearer to the "better person", thereby increasing its density.

This complexity brings him to a consciousness of his reality which means being relational, open and thus embarking on his journey, that is, freely opening himself up to the Other, which in this case is the fulfillment of the Power of Truth and Love, which is precisely God. To attain freedom, Man in his project for development, opens himself up to the force of genuine progress in Biotechnology in order to ascertain, each time ever more that his vital completeness is in constant harmony with God, with all of humanity and with the whole surrounding environment.

And now, if we try to pass over the natural way of thinking to Revelation of God, in Catholic thought, this Ethics that is open, "objective", real, and with no constrictions, opens up to full communication with God the Almighty Father who brings about in us the Truth of His Son through His Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection. He fulfils all our aspirations by bringing us along the Way that is Christ, in the fullness of the Love of His Spirit. Catholic Ethics and Bioethics are the Christ's journey within us, to His Father through His death and resurrection, in the Love of the Holy Spirit. In this way, Bioethics will be the journeying within us of the Spirit along the paths of the life and health sciences. "Those led by the Spirit are the children of God" (Romans 8,14). The Spirit infuses in man the ability to journey towards the total construction of Christ -- this ability are the virtues -- and directs him into the comprehension of Christ Himself as a way, by means of the Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.

We Christians know that the only possibility for the true vital construction of man is the resurrection. Stated in concrete historic terms, the only possibility for vital construction is union with Christ, who died and rose from the dead. This is the only Ethics that is objectively valid and to which all the authentic values found in non-Christian ethics come close to and as such are indicators of the sole reality which goes beyond illusions of vital permanence.

According to the Roman Catholic view, the construction of man is a theandric construction where divine and human actions intertwine. In translating these actions into principles of valid action for guiding Biomedicine, we can state the following:

1. The human being is a creation of God, it is from Him he comes and to whom he must tend as his exemplary and final Cause. The person is in the image of God, member of the Body of Christ, citizen of the people of God.

2. Human life is received from humanity, not as property but to be administered. Human life is inviolable from its very conception to its natural end. The dignity of the human person is inviolable. It is on this that all Anthropology and Bioethics is based.

3. The origin to human life must lie solely in marriage and solely as the fruit of the marital act.

4. Spouses are not the cause of human life but the instruments of God in
communicating life.

5. From Christ, the human person is capable of reflection, is an end in himself and can never be considered as a means.

6. The human person has his freedom and responsibility that he must put to practice in order to attain fulfillment. There is no freedom without responsibility that in turn implies respect for the freedom of others.

7. The totality is above the part and sometimes the part must be sacrificed in favor of the totality. The human person is in solidarity and must tend towards the common good.

8. The only explanation of life and its single source is Christ who died and was raised to life. If death and suffering are considered in unity with the death of Christ they are the only source of life.

9. In this context, the three principles of subjective Bioethics: autonomy, beneficence and justice, can be accepted and justified.

10. The human person is the synthesis of the universe and is the reason for everything that exists. Biomedical science and technology must be at the service of human life and not vice versa, namely, such knowledge should be used to develop man and never to destroy him.

Conclusion

If then we make an attempt to define Catholic Bioethics and so, try to synthesize principles that lead the authentic future of health Technology we can enounce the following as conclusion of this paper: The Bioethics is "The systematic and detailed study of the conduct that constructs man through the health and life sciences in order to walk in Christ towards the Father, the fullness of life, by the power of the Holy Spirit".

This theological vision implies a profound structural dialogue with all sciences and technologies involved, with all the unifying ideas from the analyses, made by the different philosophical and theological schools, also in dialogue with other religions, bearing in mind that it is a behavioral study and therefore cannot be solely a line of reflection but must be concretized as a guiding light to resolve the difficult problems raised by science and technology.

Javier Cardinal Lozano Barragán
president
Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care
Vatican City

[1] See Kim Yersu, 1999. "A Common Framework for Ethics of the Twenty-First Century." UNESCO, Division of Philosophy and Ethics. Cited Nov. 15, 1999, at www.unesco.or.kr/ethics/yersu_kim.htm.

[2] See John Paul II, "Message for the World Day of the Sick for the Year 2000," "Dolentium Hominum," 42 (3, 1999), No. 13.

[3] Benedict XVI, Address to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, March 22, 2007.

[4] "Gaudium et spes," No. 26.

[5] See Department of Essential Health Technologies (WHO), "Information Technology in Support of Health Care", p. 2 at http://www.who.int/eht.