A diligent pastor and ever meticulous scholar, the President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care offers us, in this work, a further demonstration of his catechetic talent and theological depth. The book is an important contribution to the cause for the proclamation and defence of the inviolability of human life, dignity of the person and his fundamental inalienable rights.
These pages unfold in the midst of a cultural “battle”, at a historic moment when medical science is characterized, – to borrow an expression used by Paul Ricoeur, – by the hypertrophy of means and the atrophy of ends. At the beginning of the third millennium, the essential relationship of medicine with “truth” – in particular, with the truth about man, his corporeality and health handed down to us by the classic tradition, as symbolized in the Oath of Hippocrates, and reinforced in a decisive manner by the Christian culture – appears greatly weakened by a consensualist and neo-positivist subjectivism. In this way, the consensus, also referred to as “relativist consensualism”, would be the sole possible foundation for the common good of society. There is no attempt at seeking a universal criterion in a democratic State – as this would be tantamount to displaying a fundamentalist or extremist approach – on the contrary, just a “negotiated consensus.” One of the notable features in this writing is the emphasis on the necessary relationship between ethics and metaphysics. The Author reminds us that there was a form of global rejection of metaphysics, especially by the Kantian tradition and positivism. He makes the point that if ethics is not possible without a search for its anthropological foundations, then neither could anthropology exist without metaphysics.