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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Where in the World is Doctor Haas?

The President of The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Dr. John Haas, just returned from his trip to Rome last week. Thankfully, he was able to take some time out of his busy day to write about it for us here:

The NCBC in Rome

At the end of February I traveled to Rome for a week, and it proved to be a very busy time indeed.  First of all, the NCBC and the Pontifical Academy for Life hosted a reception for Elio Cardinal Sgreccia to celebrate the appearance of the English edition of his Manuale di Bioetica, translated as Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications.  It took place in the Palazzo Cardinal Cesi by St. Peter’s Square and was attended by Cardinals, Bishops, academicians and bioethicists.  We were also able to honor Dr. and Mrs. Arlen Junck who provided a grant which made the translation possible.  Also in attendance was Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, who was Chairman of the Board of the NCBC and who solicited the grant for the translation.

Left to right: Dr. John Haas; Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life; Elio Cardinal Sgreccia, holding a copy of The NCBC's Personalist Bioethics;
Dr. Marlen Junck; Mrs. Arlene Junck; and Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison

Cardinal Sgreccia addresses the Academy regarding
The NCBC's new translation of his work.

There was also the closed session of the Members of the Pontifical Academy for Life on Thursday, February 21 and then the open public assembly on Friday, February 22 with lectures on the theme of Faith and Human Life. 
Dr. Haas addresses the Assembly

One of the presenters was His Excellency Archbishop Karl Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who had just addressed our Bishops’ Workshop two weeks earlier.

  Dr. Haas with His Excellency Archbishop Karl Gerhard Ludwig Müller

Another speaker was Richard Doerflinger, Policy Advisor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who also serves as Senior Fellow in Bioethics and Public Policy for the NCBC.

Beyond the the excitement of presenting our newest publication, I was also proud to be able to see NCBC Board Members receive Vatican appointments at this Assembly.

During the meeting,Board Member Dr. Robert Buchanan, a neuro-surgeon for the Seton Health System in Austin, Texas, was received as a Corresponding Member of the Academy for Life.

From left: Cardinal Bernard Law; Dr. Robert Buchanan, NCBC Board Member and newly appointed Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life; and Bishop Robert Morlino, former Chairman of the Board of The NCBC

While in Rome I also attended a meeting of the Directive Council of the Pontifical Academy for Life, on which I serve, and paid a visit to the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers where I serve as a Consultor.  There was also a meeting of the board of the International Federation of Bioethics Centers and Institutes of Personalist Inspiration (FIBIP) founded by Cardinal Sgreccia on which I serve.  We were finalizing plans for an international bioethics conference in Havana, Cuba, of which the NCBC is a major benefactor.  I was also able to address some of our issues at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

There was some turmoil in the Vatican this trip, caused by the abdication of Pope Benedict and the huge influx of media.  We had difficulty securing our regular meeting rooms and even had to move the location of the final banquet of the Pontifical Academy for Life to the Vatican Museum since the large foyer of the Paul VI Audience Hall normally used for it was filled with banks of tables and power connections for journalists!

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