47 Universities Join in a Federation of Bioethics Centers

Includes Institutions Worldwide

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ROME, JUNE 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- An international federation of centers dedicated to bioethics has been launched.

At the initiative of the Center of Bioethics of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, the International Federation of Centers and Institutes of Bioethics of Personalist Inspiration was established here with the support of 47 representatives from around the world.

The most numerous group is the Latin American, with 14 centers, including the University of Anahuac in Mexico and the Austral University in Buenos Aires.

Also taking part in the June 10 foundation of the federation were the University of the Sacred Heart and the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome; Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; University of Toronto; the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; the Catholic University of Portugal; University of Trnava, Slovakia; and Spain’s Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Navarre.

The federation was set up to address the philosophical currents within institutions of bioethics — including diverse and even opposite positions on issues such as abortion, contraception, homosexuality and euthanasia.

The approved statutes define the personalist inspiration in relation to the human person, open to transcendence, as the focus of bioethical reflection. In this context, human dignity is defended from conception until natural death.

The federation is open to participants of various religions and cultural traditions, although it makes special reference to the Catholic Church.

The provisional board of directors includes Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president; Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco, secretary; Father Gonzalo Miranda, treasurer. Board members include John Haas of Boston, Massachusetts.

On the eve of the establishment of the federation, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, participated in conferences centered on personalism.

In the near future, representatives of North America and Asia will attend a complementary founding session in Canada.

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