STEUBENVILLE, OHIO — Modern society's view of humans exuality stems from the belief that any limits on human sexual expression are in and of themselves bad, said Helen Alvaré, JD, at Franciscan University of Steubenville's annual Institute of Bioethics Conference.
The conference, "The Integrity of the Medical Profession and Contemporary Threats Against It," attracted doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who sought to learn how to handle some of today's most pressing bioethical issues.
Alvaré presented the keynote Henkels Lecture,"Religious Freedom and Sexual Liberationism," in which she explained that "sexualityism," a term for the idea that "sex is about expressing oneself," is not at all linked to what Catholics commonly understand, or what common sense even understands, sex to be, "which is a combination of strengthening the permanent bond between a man and a woman and linking them together for the procreation of children."
Alvaré, an associate professor of law at George Mason University School of Law and advisor to Pope Benedict XVI's Pontifical Council for the Laity, also said that the Catholic Church is the chief opponent of sexualityism, which is the greatest threat to religious freedom today. She explained that sexualityism's victims are now suffering personal economic, emotional, and educational consequences.
“The human outcomes of sexualityism are taking their toll,” she said, “particularly on the very groups that they were made for: women and those least privileged.”
Dr. Patrick Lee, professor of bioethics and director of the Institute of Bioethics at Franciscan University, hosted the conference. His presentation, "Defending Against Secularist Threatsto the Integrity of the Medical Profession," explored ethical implications of the patient-physician relationship if the patient believes that continuing care is not in accordance with his personal well-being.
“[Physicians have] made a solemn promise to cooperate with patients for their well-being, not just the delivery of technical expertise,” said Lee. “That is where the integrity of the medical profession lies; it does not consist in providing the patient what he wants no matter what that might be.”
Other conference speakers included Dr. John Brehany, executive director of the Catholic Medical Association; Dr. Jorge Garcia, professor of philosophy at Boston College; Gregory Burke, MD, of the Geisinger Medical Institute in Danville, Pa.; and Daniel Iracki, MD, who works in critical care medicine and pulmonology in Pittsburgh.
The conference was sponsored by the Franciscan University of Steubenville Institute of Bioethics and the Distinguished Speakers Series, which co-sponsored Alvaré's presentation.
Full audio and video recordings of all talks are available at the Institute of Bioethics conference page. More information is also available at the Distinguished Speakers Series pages.