A Spanish bishop recently lamented that Catholic doctors who stand up for their moral beliefs often experience “intense rejection and misunderstanding” within society.
The prelate also remarked that Catholic physicians are increasingly “defenseless” in the face of what he believes to be “troublesome” research prospects involving human life that “are evermore daring and unscrupulous.”
Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla of Alcala de Henares in Spain gave his comments on June 11 during a local congress for Catholic doctors.
Speaking on what he feels is a current societal misconception on the value of the person, the bishop said that “life is not considered an absolute that must always be respected, but rather, a relative good to be valued according to the advantages it brings one in terms of pleasure and well-being for others, and for society in terms of utility, productivity and sustainability.”
In light of this, when Catholic doctors propose clear moral answers with no room for exceptions, they are met with “intense rejection and more radically with misunderstanding,” the bishop continued.
“In the not-so-distant past, moral theology was entrusted with authoritatively providing solutions" to all issues regarding ethics. However, he added, "little by little, secular and autonomous ethics have been developing without a reference to theology.”
Bishop Reig Pla then rejected what he called “secular bioethics” which, in his opinion, only uphold “the demands of rationality when the theological principal that affirms the sacredness of life is abandoned and the new point of view of the quality of life is accepted.”
In spite of these challenges, however, the prelate underscored that there is an open door for the Church to have greater influence because of the need to return to natural law and moral norms.