03 April 2008

An Organ Market?

Upcoming from Caritas Fellowship:


Thinking about Transplantation.

Gilbert Meilaender, Ph.D.
  • Monday, 21 April 2008
  • 4.00 PM
  • St. Luke's Chapel, MUSC (Map)
  • Free & Open to the Public
  • Inaugural Caritas Fellowship Lecture in Bioethics
"All organ transplantation, ...even when organs are given, not taken or purchased, invites us to think of ourselves and others in ways that risk the loss of the full meaning of our embodied humanity. All organ transplantation—even when undertaken for the best of reasons and even when justified—remains troubling. It tempts us to think of the body, in terms Paul Ramsey used, as just an "ensemble of parts," just a resource.

But a gift cannot so easily be severed from its giver. When an organ is freely given, that gift—like all gifts—carries with it the presence
of the giver and directs our attention back to one who is not just a collection of alienable parts but a unified living being. Indeed, what the donor gives is not simply an organ, but himself or herself. The gift can never be entirely severed or alienated from the giver. (Which is why, for example, we would think it wrong for a living donor to give an unpaired vital organ, such as the heart. The gift would undermine the very integrity of bodily life that it aimed to express.)" —Gilbert Meilaender, “The Giving and Taking of Organs.First Things, February 2008

Gilbert Meilaender, Ph.D. is the Richard & Phyllis Duesenberg Professor of Christian Ethics at Valparaiso University and has been a member of the President's Council on Bioethics since its inception. Professor Meilaender is an associate editor for the Journal of Religious Ethics and is a Fellow of the Hastings Center. His books include Bioethics: A Primer for Christians (1996, 2005), The Way that Leads There: Augustinian Reflections on the Christian Life (2006), and Body, Soul, and Bioethics (1995). He has recently edited (together with William Werpehowski) The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics (2005).


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