Bioethics a Question of Life or Death for Everyone, Says Professor

New Book by Philosopher Ramon Lucas Lucas

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ROME, NOV. 7, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Bioethics is not just a question for experts. It is question of life or death for every person, says the latest book of philosopher Ramón Lucas Lucas says.



In "Bioetica per Tutti" ("Bioethics for Everyone," St. Paul Publications), which will soon be published in English, Father Lucas, professor of philosophical anthropology and bioethics of the Gregorian University, responds in simple language to the most common questions on human reproduction, cloning, euthanasia. etc.

With the advent of this work, which in Italy is fast becoming a best seller, ZENIT interviewed philosopher Father Lucas to have him clarify his objective.

Q: Why did you choose the tile "Bioethics for Everyone"? Is it a question of marketing?

Father Lucas: Communication is important. In any case, my idea is to offer everyone a precise but easy-to-understand explanation of those problems that affect all of us, and not just a small group of specialists.

Q: In addition to sketches, the text is illustrated with photographs, drawings, diagrams. It would seem to be the presentation of a multinational's advertising campaign.

Father Lucas: The dynamism of images is decisive in the communication of ideas. To express a concept in a photo or a drawing allows one to involve the senses for greater understanding, making it more comprehendible to all. Moreover, it is also a question of education.

Q: Of education?

Father Lucas: The famous Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset used to say that clarity in the expression of thought is the courtesy of the philosopher.

It is necessary to make profound things "superficial," in the etymological sense of the term. In other words, it is necessary that they be brought to light, to the surface, without losing their importance or seriousness.

Q: The book spans topics from sexuality and reproduction to abortion, cloning, and euthanasia. Don't you think these topics are too many and too important for an informational book?

Father Lucas: In reality, it is a question of values. It isn't "too much" for the one who loves life; who bends over the one who suffers and helps him instead of killing him, there are no limits. For the one who offers a hand with love and a smile on his face with generosity toward the defenseless, these topics are not "too much." The spirit grows in solidarity toward our fellow men.

Q: However, the promoters of euthanasia present it as "an act of love."

Father Lucas: I do not judge good personal intentions. The facts, however, contradict these good intentions.

I cannot understand -- and I say this after spending a year at the bedside of a relative who had cancer and died a month ago -- how euthanasia can be applied out of feelings of mercy. I find the love-that-kills monstrous; I find monstrous the compassion that eliminates the one who suffers.

I think that philanthropy is monstrous when understood as the suppression of the life of a person because he or she has become a burden.