A Roman Catholic Perspective
Monsignor Peter R. Beaulieu, M.A., S.T.L.
Medical ethics, while proudly declaring itself to be a largely secularized field, has borrowed heavily from Roman Catholic moral sources. While it remains debatable whether or not a distinctively Catholic form of medical ethics has always existed or not, the Hippocratic tradition in medicine meshed very well with Catholic morality in general and Catholic medical practices in particular. The Hippocratic Oath is the clearest illustration of that tradition and testifies as to how compatible the Christianized form of the oath is with Catholic moral principles. The Catholic tradition wholeheartedly affirms that faith and reason are not at odds with one another, as well as that truth and goodness are eminently knowable, such that any moral agent has the capacity to will the good over evil—Good is to be done and evil avoided.