Dealing With Death

Bioethics Galbraith Lecturer Addresses Sanctity of Life

 Date Published: March 7, 2017

Father TadThroughout life we all experience our own mortality, oftentimes through the suffering of others. How exactly ought we to respond to suffering, pain and death? How should we handle end-of-life matters? How should we respond to a loved one’s prolonged suffering and the inevitability of death?  What are the temptations that confront us in those circumstances, and what should be our response to those temptations?

Continuing the year-long endeavor to help students and members of the university community reflect on essential elements of Catholic social teaching, the University of Dallas Constantin College of Liberal Arts welcomes National Catholic Bioethics Center Director of Education Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., for this year’s Galbraith Lecture on “Temptations in Suffering: Failing Our Loved Ones by Physician-Assisted Suicide.” The lecture will take place this Thursday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Art History Auditorium, followed by a Q&A and reception.

“Our students stare death and suffering straight in the face on day one in our Core curriculum when they begin reading the Iliad, and yet we often have the temptation to avoid even thinking about it,” said Jonathan J. Sanford, dean of Constantin College and professor of philosophy. “Father Tadeusz is an outspoken defender of principles central to Catholic social teaching and he will be able to connect our students’ theoretical beliefs to actual circumstances in our contemporary day and age.”

We have certainly seen a growing consensus in favor of euthanasia.  Consider, for instance, the success of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-award-winning film “Million Dollar Baby,” which, at least in the manner it is typically interpreted, condones so-called mercy killing as a morally licit response to a life of paralysis. Art imitates reality: In 1994, Oregon became the first state in the United States to allow physician-assisted suicide. Last year, Colorado became the sixth state to offer this life-ending option to terminally ill patients with “six or less months to live.” But does, in fact, extreme suffering in a loved one, or a sufferer’s desire to have his or her life terminated, ever justify killing an innocent person? What are the physician’s responsibilities in the face of such suffering? Do we serve or fail our loved ones by physician-assisted suicide? This year’s Galbraith Lecture will lay out a careful, thoughtful and faithful answer to these questions.

Author of the nationally syndicated monthly newspaper column “Making Sense Out of Bioethics,” Father Pacholczyk has testified before state legislatures on stem cell research and cloning in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia and Oregon. He earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale University and later studied dogmatic theology and bioethics for five years in Rome at the Gregorian University and the Lateran University.

Father Pacholczyk will also lead a discussion on the relationship between science, bioethics, and his priestly vocation on Friday, March 10, at 8 a.m. in Upstairs Haggar.

With special thanks to the family of Alex T. Galbraith, this lecture is part of the Constantin College Galbraith Lecture Series, which each year brings to campus speakers of academic and professional distinction whose expertise complements the central texts and themes of UD’s Core curriculum.

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