Bioethics, Health Care, and Catholic Teaching
An Educational Formation Program for Health Care Professionals, Catechists, Educators, and Clergy
About Converging Roads
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About Converging Roads
Converging Roads is an educational initiative that integrates bioethics, health care, and Catholic teaching. Our one- and two-day conferences, as well as our Foundational Seminar Series, are specifically designed for health care professionals, catechists, educators, and clergy. These events are comprehensive and pastoral in nature.
Converging Roads was founded in 2009 by Chris Stravitsch and Rev. Jaime Robledo, who both served on the faculty at Assumption Seminary, and Arland Nichols, who was a high school morality instructor at the time. Their aim was to carry on and expand the pastoral initiatives of Most Rev. José H. Gomez, then Archbishop of San Antonio. While Converging Roads has largely been organized as a partnership between Assumption Seminary and CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System, in 2011 we welcomed HLI America as a partner in these efforts as Mr. Nichols became their National Director. HLI America, which is an educational initiative of Human Life International, will work to extend the reach of Converging Roads beyond our founding city.
The specific program objectives for Converging Roads are the following:
- Provide a strong foundation in philosophical ethics, bioethics, and moral theology
- Provide a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the biomedical issues that are relevant in today’s society and how technological and medical advances present unique and oftentimes complex ethical challenges
- Equip medical professionals to dialogue with the culture and their professional setting from a bioethical standpoint, recognizing the intrinsic dignity of the human person
- Equip clergy and other ministers to assist and educate the laity in making moral health care decisions by informing their conscience with sound ethical principles and Magisterial teaching
- Provide an opportunity for Archdiocesan catechetical credit
The Importance of this Program
Modern medicine and science have the power to improve the human race and foster a culture of life by keeping people healthy, healing physical and mental diseases, and offering comfort at the end of life. The “activity of those engaged in health care is a valuable service to life…[that] expresses a profoundly human and Christian commitment".1 However, when medical research and health care practices are not faithful to the moral law, they can instead contribute to a culture that dehumanizes the person and destroys life.
Today’s health care issues are complex, and so are the ethical decisions that envelop them. “Every educated Catholic must be able to explain the Catholic position on key bioethical issues knowledgeably—for his decisions and for his response to those who do not share his beliefs…This calls for better education than is now available.”2 People have a right to be educated about these issues so they can make informed decisions with a formed conscience when they are faced with complex health care issues. “The education of our clergy and of our people in the general principles of morality must be an ongoing process and must be a priority. For it is only when Catholics understand the moral vision of the Church that they will be able to put it into practice in their own lives, and give persuasive testimony to it in society at large.”3 Greater education in the area of bioethics is essential for ensuring that Church teachings are represented in the ongoing debates.
Some Immediate Benefits to Participants
- More clearly respond to the complex ethical questions you encounter in ministry or professional settings
- Become aware of resources for yourself and others
- Gain insights on designing your medical practice around the teachings of the Catholic Church
- Provide greater pastoral care to patients
- Participate in building a “culture of life” that respects the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death
- Dialogue with other Catholic professionals
- Live a more authentically Catholic life
Catechists and Catholic school teachers in the Archdiocese of San Antonio may earn catechist certification credit for participation in this conference. Contact Rita Minkley, Archdiocesan Catechetical Center at 210-734-1638 for requirements.
1 Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers. Charter for Health Care Workers. May 1995, n.1.
2 Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, Chair of the President’s Council on Bioethics, cited in Urged on By Christ, Ed Furton, ed., published by NCBC, 2008
3 William Cardinal Levada, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, cited in Urged on By Christ, Ed Furton, ed., published by NCBC, 2008