Vatican City – Doha (Qatar), November 18th, 2020.- The Pontifical Academy for Life participated in Virtual WISH Summit 2020. (https://2020.wish.org.qa/agenda/ )
On November 18th Archbishop Vincenzo PAGLIA, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, participated in the Forum Panel on «Islamic Ethics and Infertility Treatment» (virtual edition). The Infertility and Islamic Ethics forum panel discussed assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization, as well as cryopreservation, and how each raise a variety of unique ethical concerns. In this context Archbishop Paglia underlined that «in Catholic thinking, the transmission of life occupies a position of great importance and is understood within the relationship of factors that unify sexual activity, the love between spouses, and generation. Our tradition considers this unity as a fundamental anthropological truth, one that moreover is engraved in the experience common to all cultures. The bond between spousal love and generation, is a gift more than a duty, and as such it calls for our protection. In fact, every child is generated in an encounter between a man and a woman, involving all their existence and history, not simply their bodies or the cells provided by their reproductive organs. The experience of birth helps us understand the meaning of human sexuality. Each child is born within an alliance that hosts him or her. Generating is welcoming a child who, although coming to us, does not belong to us. The time of gestation is of enormous importance for parents to be able to process their welcome of the other person who develops within the woman's body, recognizing him or her not as a foreigner, an opponent, but as a guest».
Then Archbishop Paglia noted that: «In more general terms, however, religious experience makes it possible to consider the question within a horizon that transcends earthly concerns and avoids absolutizing a child as something to be had no matter what it takes. Every way in which the development of human life and fraternal solidarity is supported and fostered is an expression of the fruitfulness of the couple and the family, even if it is not possible to have one's own descendants. It is in this way that we live out our being sons and daughters of God».
On November 17th the first panel on «COVID and Palliative Care» and the second panel on «Religion and Medical Ethics: Reflections on Autonomy and Authority» were in partnership with the Pontifical Academy for Life and the BMJ. Dr. Nunziata Comoretto (Pontifical Academy for Life) underlined that in our time «One of the problems with assisted suicide and euthanasia is that they require the involvement of another person who must carry out or at least participate in the action. It is clear that legally authorizing an action contrary to the protection of human life (which is one of the fundamental ethical commitments of healthcare professionals), without admitting the possibility of conscientious objection, means at least violating the freedom of the doctor. And this is unfair because it would mean overruling the doctor's freedom that deserve the same dignity and respect than the patient’s one. We know that major religious traditions oppose to these practices, this opposition, however, does not mean ignoring the suffering of patients who come to ask for euthanasia or assisted suicide. The main religious traditions affirm that euthanasia and assisted suicide mean abandoning the patient to his or her suffering (false compassion), rather than looking at the suffering of those around us with responsibility and solidarity. Taking care is the only possible answer, according to major religions. A few years ago, the Academy started a project dedicated to palliative care, with the aim to culturally promote the attitude of caring. In this project, called PAL-LIFE, the WISH program is an active and important partner. It is precisely within this project that took place the scientific event and the report that we are discussing in this session».
(Original text: Italian. Translation by Leonardo Stefanucci; revised by Fabrizio Mastrofini)