“WE ARE CAPABLE OF LOVING BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN LOVED FIRST”
Pope Francis continues his catechesis on the Our Father during his weekly general audience, focusing on “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”.
The audience took place in St. Peter’s Square under gray and rainy skies, soaking the nearly 15,000 faithful present for the papal catechesis. (Photos: Lucia Ballester for CNA)
The monsignori from the Secretariat of State who provide the various language translations of the weekly catechesis and papal greetings, as well as the visiting bishops and cardinals, who are normally seated near the papal platform but not covered from the elements, today were all bunched today under the protective canopy of the platform, just behind Pope Francis.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” began the Holy Father, “in our continuing catechesis on the ‘Our Father’, we now consider how Jesus teaches us to ask God to ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’. Just as we need bread, so we have need of forgiveness. Every day!”
Francis noted that, “in the original Greek of Matthew’s Gospel, the word used for ‘trespasses’ carries the meaning of being in debt, and so Christians pray asking that God will forgive their debts. We are truly in debt to God because everything we have has come as a gift from Him: our life, parents, friends, creation itself. Likewise, we are only capable of loving because we have been loved first; we are able to forgive only because we ourselves have received forgiveness.”
But even if we were perfect, saint-like people who never strayed “we would always remain children who owe everything to the Father,” explained the Pope.
He then warned against pride, defining it “the most dangerous attitude for every Christian life.” Pride is the worst sin, and quite insidious because it can “infect even people who live an intense religious life”. He then cited the First Letter of St John, saying, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.”
Francis asked, “How can we not recognize, in the bonds of love that precede us, the providential presence of God’s love? None of us can love God as He has loved us. We need only gaze at a crucifix to realize this. Let us pray, then, that even the holiest in our midst will never cease to be in debt to the Lord. O Father, have mercy on us all!”
ETHICAL CHALLENGES OF PERSONALIZED MEDICINE CONSIDERED AT VATICAN WORKSHOP
Personalized medicine represents a revolution in medical science and raises several ethical challenges, says Professor Yechiel Michael Barilan.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences hosts a workshop in the Vatican this week on “The Revolution of Personalized Medicine.”
The event carries a provocative subtitle: “Are we going to cure all diseases and at what price?”
Personalized medicine is a therapeutic approach that separates people into different groups according to their genetic information in order to tailor decisions, interventions, and drug therapy to the individual patient.
Professor Yechiel Michael Barilan, an expert in Internal Medicine at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, is the workshop’s Academic Director.
Professor Barilan told Vatican News’ Gabriela Ceraso that personalized medicine represents a dual revolution.
It promises a partial revolution in medicine, he said, because it aims at getting “more and more specific at the molecular level of every disease.” This means examining the genomic and molecular features of diabetes, for instance.
The bigger revolution, said Prof. Barilan, is “to try to abandon the concept of disease altogether and, on one hand, just collect lots of biological data (proteins, genes), have the computers calculate them, like Google does, and then come out with specific health instructions”.
Prof. Barilan admitted that personalized medicine poses several ethical challenges.
One general risk is conflict of interest and bias in the industry, though, he said, every industry runs this risk.
The doctor-patient relationship could also suffer as a result of personalized medicine, because computers could come between the two as they are relied upon in the place of doctors to analyze patient data.
“There is also a risk of having a new definition of what health is, and it’s not necessarily what we as persons and humans believe health is,” he said.
Risk of alienation
Personalized medicine, said Prof. Barilan, even runs the risk of alienating certain people from society, because they carry genetic traits or disease markers that could be classified as “high risk” or they might have a low response-rate to therapy.
It might even cause the “reorganization of human society along the lines of how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you are as a biological creature,” he said.
Ultimate human goals
Prof. Barilan said the issues surrounding personalized medicine – and science in general – is related to “ultimate human goals,” or the perceived purpose of human life.
“Doing science and doing medicine without thinking about ultimate human goals and values is, in a way, futile or shallow, and could be extremely harmful.”
Both the Vatican and the scientists present at the workshop share a commitment to ultimate human goals, said Prof. Barilan, even if there is disagreement over what those goals may be.