Catholic Social Doctrine Reflects on Aging and Disability 4

Fr. Joseph Tham, LC, MD, PhD

Aging and Disability was the topic of the 20th General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life held on Feb 20-21, 2014 in Rome.

With the advance of medical technology, there is a longer life expectancy worldwide.  Along with increased lifespan, More…

Dilemmas faced by medical personnel during the SARS crisis 2

Fr Joseph Tham

Fr Joseph Tham

Fr Joseph Tham is a Catholic Priest, has doctoral degrees in medicine and bioethics, and is a contributor to Biltrix. In this article he presents a four-fold model for assessing the medical professional’s role in society, based on some reflections ten years after the 2003 SARS epidemic.

In early September, I participated in a conference on “SARS epidemic: ethical reflection and prospects” in Hong Kong. The 2003 global epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome was particularly devastating in Hong Kong.  About 1800 people were infected, 300 of whom died, including 8 medical personnel.  The Bioethics Resource Centre of the Catholic Diocesan Committee for Bioethics of Hong Kong organized the education event with the sponsorship of different hospitals, nursing and doctor guilds. More…

Should We Live Forever 3

By Fr Joseph Tham

Recently, I read a book by Gilbert Meilaender, called Should We Live Forever? The Ethical Ambiguities of Aging.  The question of aging and immortality does not seem, at first glance, to be a bioethical topic.  This little book by the Methodist theologian offers profound insights to the oft-ignored questions underlying many bioethical debates today—from euthanasia and the right to die, to regenerative medicine which attempts to extend life using stem cells and cloning, to enhancement and transhumanism. More…

The Passing of a Father of Bioethics 7

By Fr Joseph Tham

Dr Edmund Pellegrino

Dr Edmund Pellegrino

On June 13, 2013, Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, MD, MACP, passed away peacefully at the age of 92.  He rightfully enjoys the title as a Father of Bioethics, due to the importance of his thoughts and the numerous publications and conferences he has given. More…

Adventures of the Dark Side of Medicine, a Book Review 6

By Fr Joseph Tham, LC , PhD, MD

Recently, I wrote this book review on an interesting work, White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures of the Dark Side of Medicine, by Carl Elliot.

In this work, the author delves into the well known problems that medicine faces as it divides its attention between patient care and profit making. More…

Challenges for a Catholic Doctor in the Changing World 14

Fr Joseph Tham, LC, MD, PhD

In this article, I will discuss four challenges that Catholic doctors face in the world today:

1) The secular and Catholic divide that gives rise to two contrasting visions of bioethics: the secular vision based on utilitarianism and materialism, whereas the Catholic vision is based on natural law and human dignity; 2) This divide is most evident in beginning of life issues, on the moral status of the human embryo More…

The Scream of Nature 4

Br Fr Joseph Tham, LC

Munch Edward — The Scream

Recently, Edvard Munch’s emblematic painting “The Scream” was sold for $119.9 million, and became the most expensive artwork ever sold at an auction. This painting is one of four similar works by the Norwegian expressionist artist and is also the only one to include a poem on the frame. He explained the inspiration behind this composition: More…

Why Have Children? 2

By Fr Joseph Tham, LC

As the month May rolls by, the smell of spring is in the air, and it is a month that motherhood is celebrated all over the word.  For Catholics, it is also the month we celebrate the maternal closeness of Mary.  It is therefore a strange contrast with some recent comments that surfaced about the irrationality of having children. More…