Since the 1970s, the interrelated areas of medical genetics and biotechnology have developed dramatically and afforded increased control over the design of living organisms. From the very beginning, controversies over these techniques and their applications to plants, animals, and humans have raged in many disciplines—including science, philosophy, ethics, and religion. This book brings together the seminal essays of two leading Catholic moral theologians—Thomas Shannon and James Walter—in an effort to identify the key ethical and theological questions raised by the new genetic medicine. What is unique about this book is that it specifically and directly brings modern genetics and the Roman Catholic theological and ethical tradition into dialogue. While the authors argue that the Catholic tradition has much to offer in putting this current scientific revolution into perspective, they well understand the need to avoid merely repeating the tradition in favor of bringing the best of the tradition to bear on the precise questions posed by modern genetic technology.
Shannon and Walter are two accomplished theologians with an extensive track record in bioethics. For those who want a comprehensive analysis of religious and ethical positions on the new genetics, this is the book. It provides an excellent compass for scholars and can serve as a course text.
The first task, in a complex democracy facing a complex moral issue such as the use of genetic medicine, is to learn to listen. It is precisely when we most deeply disagree about meaning and moral choices that we need to hear each justifying argument and be troubled by each troubling question. Shannon and Walter have consistently offered a differing, distinctive, and thoughtfully argued voice in Catholic bioethics, and their understanding of their tradition and its attention to social justice is an important contribution to the multivocal work of moral citizenship.
Thomas A. Shannon is professor of religion and social ethics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is the author of many articles and books in Catholic Social thought, bioethics, and genetics. He is the editor of a series of readers in bioethics for Sheed & Ward. James J. Walter is Austin & Ann O'Malley Professor of Bioethics and director of the Bioethics Institute at Loyola Marymount University. He has written many articles and books on morality, medical ethics, and biotechnology, including A Call to Fidelity.
Chapter 1 Theological Issues in Genetics Chapter 2 thical Issues in Genetics Chapter 3 Catholic Reflections on the Human Genome Project Chapter 4 Reflections on the Moral Status of the Pre-embryo Chapter 5 Human Nature in a Post-Genomic World Chapter 6 Human Gene Transfer: Some Theological Contributions to the Ethi-cal Debate Chapter 7 Human Cloning: Religious and Ethical Issues Chapter 8 Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Chapter 9 Ethical Issues in Stem Cell Therapy: From the Micro to the Macro Chapter 10 The Bioengineering of Planet Earth: Some Scientific, Moral and Theological Considerations