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Pope John Paul II Bioethics Center

Holy Apostles' Pope John Paul II Bioethics Center


The Center was founded in 1982 by the late Rev. Francis J. Lescoe, Ph.D., Msgr. David Q. Liptak, D.Min., and the late Leo Thomas Duffy, M.D.  Its purpose is to articulate authentic Catholic teaching with respect to bioethical issues, from technological reproduction to end-of-life decisions.  It currently operates under the direction of its surviving founder and director, Msgr. Liptak, and associate director Rev. Deacon Thomas J. Davis, Jr., J.D., L.LM. M.A.

The Center has endeavored to impart to Holy Apostles’ students a solid Magisterial foundation in medical ethics and bioethical science. Some of the topics discussed in an interdisciplinary model are technological reproduction, the criteria for brain death, genetic engineering, end-of-life decisions, “living wills,” stem cell research, cloning, and various legal issues related to bioethics. 

In 2010 the Bioethics Center launched a new initiative to make Catholic bioethics resources more readily available to students, scholars and the general public.  An enhanced internet presence provides links to bioethics resources within the Church, including Curial congregations and pontifical academies and councils.  Other links connect the extensive prolife resources of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, various bioethics organizations, universities, publications, journals, medical associations and more, providing a broad-based and solid Catholic foundation for research and study.  Separate resource sections collect the foundational documents for Catholic bioethics, provide explanation of basic concepts in bioethics and offer selected cultural readings related to bioethics, including plays, novels, short stories, poetry, and essays. At the center of the internet resources is a bioethics document library providing collections of papal and Church teaching documents, as well as other documents, including original research, in topics ranging from the origin of human life, genetic manipulation, stem cell research, cloning, assisted reproduction, surrogacy,  pregnancy and birth, contraception, abortion, research ethics, end of life issues, assisted nutrition and hydration, anatomical gift issues, brain death, euthanasia, advance medical directives, pharmacological topics, vaccines, family and marriage issues, same-sex attraction, palliative care, conscience protection in health care, “cooperation” and its limits, legal mandates, nanotechnology and human enhancement research and applications. 

A unique feature of the resources is a collection – a library, really – of downloadable advance medical directives proposing instructions for health care, as well as the appointment of health care representatives.  These resources represent practical, highly relevant applications of authentic Catholic teaching fully in accord with the latest teaching of the Church.  

The Web site also publishes the highly renowned Pope John Paul II Bioethics Center Lecture Series in Bioethics, featuring addresses by some of the leading voices in moral theology and bioethics including William May, Raymond Dennehy, Germain Grisez, Donald Demarco, Rev. Ronald Lawler, Ralph McInerny and Msgr. David Q. Liptak.  The lecture is an annual event and aims at providing the finest reflection by outstanding scholars on timely and critical bioethical issues.



HACS praised in recent issue of National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

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Originally published in the Winter 2011 issue of The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly © The National Catholic Bioethics Center. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.

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