January 25th 2003

  Buy Issue 2649

Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Defence: Time for a reality check

EDITORIAL: The flight from fatherhood

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Iraq another divisive issue for the ALP

IRAQ: The case against Saddam Hussein

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The hard questions

COMMENT: Abortion-cancer row continues

LETTERS: Mutual concerns

LETTERS: Dealing with Asia

LETTERS: Protecting the Australian way of life

LETTERS: Free trade

LETTERS: 'Dumbing down'

COMMENT: Sean Penn, Blue Heelers: the politics of celebrity

PROFILE: Why Belloc still matters

BOOKS: The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, by Keith Windschuttle

BOOKS: Culture of Life: Culture of Death, edited by Luke Gormally

Books promotion page

Culture of Life: Culture of Death, edited by Luke Gormally

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, January 25, 2003
Culture clash

Culture of Life: Culture of Death
Edited by Luke Gormally

Distributed by Ignatius House Services, PO Box 180, Sumner Park, Qld 4074
Rec. Price: $59.70 plus $4.40 p&h

In July 2000, a number of important papers were delivered and discussed at an international conference in the UK on contemporary challenges in the fields of ethics and bioethics, where Christian principles conflict with the values of the prevailing secular society.

The Linacre Centre, which published the papers, is one of the principal bioethics institutes in Great Britain, and is supported by the British Catholic Bishops.

Culture of Life - Culture of Death is a compilation of many of the papers delivered at that conference, and includes contributions by Archbishop George Pell, the late Cardinal Thomas Winning, Professor Anthony Fisher, Professor John Finnis, Professor Robert George of Princeton, and Dr Robert Walley, Director of Matercare International.

The theme around which the conference was organised was suggested by the Pope's 1995 encyclical letter, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), in which John Paul II described the prevailing secular and materialist culture of Western societies as "the culture of death".

Professors Finnis and George emphasised that every human person - whether sharing a religious faith or not - is capable of choosing what is morally good, based on human knowledge and human nature.

In his paper, "Secularism, the root of the culture of death", Professor Finnis explicitly dealt with the problem of intention, which is a sharp dividing line between deliberate killing - as in abortion, the killing of newborns with disabilities, and euthanasia - and letting die.

He pointed out that this confusion has influenced legal judgments in the US and the UK.

Interestingly, it was also an important contributor to the outcome of the recent Parliamentary debate in Australia on the Human Embryo Experimentation Bill 2002, in which the Prime Minister said he did not believe there was a sufficient distinction between allowing embryos to be experimented upon, and letting them die, to proscribe such experimentation.

The conference discussed many of the most pressing moral issues currently facing Western societies, including utilitarianism as a guiding principle in medical ethics; HIV/AIDS; the efforts to enforce population control, both within countries such as Australia and on developing nations; and the more familiar issues of abortion, human embryo experimentation and euthanasia.

The conference also discussed some of the most contentious issues in the bioethics field, including the attempts to modify abortion laws, use of the rubella vaccine, despite the fact that it had been grown on a cell line derived from an aborted baby; and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from dying patients.

The book does not contain the discussion which followed the presentation of these papers, where at times strong differences of view were expressed. This is unfortunate, but would have further delayed publication of the book, and made it substantially longer than its 350 pages.

The conference highlighted the clash of cultures in contemporary society, and showed why it remains important to understand and fight for the principles on which a civilised society was created, and on which its future existence depends.

Join email list

Join e-newsletter list

Your cart has 0 items

Subscribe to NewsWeekly

Research Papers

Trending articles

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Memo to Shorten, Wong: LGBTIs don't want it

COVER STORY Shorten takes low road to defeat marriage plebiscite

COVER STORY Reaper mows down first child in the Low Countries

COVER STORY Bill Shorten imposes his political will on the nation

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Kevin Andrews: defend marriage on principles

CANBERRA OBSERVED Coalition still gridlocked despite foreign success

ENVIRONMENT More pseudo science from climate

News and views from around the world

Menzies, myth and modern Australia (Jonathan Pincus)

China’s utterly disgraceful human-rights record

Japan’s cure for childlessness: a robot (Marcus Roberts)

SOGI laws: a subversive response to a non-existent problem (James Gottry)

Shakespeare, Cervantes and the romance of the real (R.V. Young)

That’s not funny: PC and humour (Anthony Sacramone)

Refugees celebrate capture of terror suspect

The Spectre of soft totalitarianism (Daniel Mahoney)

American dream more dead than you thought (Eric Levitz)

Think the world is overcrowded: These 10 maps show why you’re wrong (Max Galka)

© Copyright NewsWeekly.com.au 2011
Last Modified:
November 14, 2015, 11:18 am