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Book and Media Reviews
November 7, 2007

Medicine, Health Care, & Ethics: Catholic Voices

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(17):2070-2075. doi:10.1001/jama.298.17.2071-b

The subtitle of John F. Morris' Medicine, Health Care, & Ethics: Catholic Voices as well as the title of the Preface, “Raising our Voices,” aptly suggest the purpose and contents of this book. Indeed, the 12 essays on various issues in health care ethics are all by Catholics—philosophers, theologians, and 2 political scientists. The purpose of the volume is precisely to identify and expound on current Catholic scholarship in health care ethics. Morris rightly believes that general textbooks in bioethics do not adequately represent Catholic contributions to the issues. (It is widely recognized that the potential contributions of all religious traditions have been marginalized by many practitioners of contemporary bioethics. This may be particularly true of Catholicism because of its conservative bent, despite the fact that Catholicism has the longest tradition of attention to issues in medical ethics and several of the earliest bioethicists were Catholic theologians.) Consequently, students of health care ethics are left with the misimpression that Catholicism has nothing to offer to the debates. It is precisely to redress this misimpression that Morris has assembled this collection of essays. He wishes to “represent and explain the unique perspective of the Catholic tradition” with regard to challenging issues in bioethics (p xiii).

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