NZ Catholic bishops promote open informed life discussions

NZ Catholic bishops

In a significant move, the NZ Catholic bishops are promoting open and informed life discussion through a modernised and broadened document, Te Kahu o te Ora – A Consistent Ethic of Life.

The modernisation seeks to fill a twenty-six-year gap and reflect some of the modern challenges.

Dr John Kleinsman, director of the NZ Catholic bishops’ Nathaniel Centre for Bioethics, is delighted with the bishops’ update.

Kleinsman describes the new document as a “succinct overview of eight key moral areas, including a new section on information technology and artificial intelligence.”

Among the modern challenges the bishops consider

  • Information technology and artificial intelligence
  • Justice and correction systems
  • War and peace
  • Poverty
  • Discrimination and abuse
  • End-of-life issues
  • Beginning of life issues
  • Integrity of Creation

Kleinsman says that people generally know what the Chucrh teaches but are unsure of why.

Te Kahu o te Ora – A Consistent Ethic of Life summarises key points which can give people greater insights into Catholic thinking, comments Kleinsman.

“It is a great source for open and informed discussions”, says Kleinsman who, as well as being a theologian, is a married man, father and grandfather.

The original Te Kahu o te Ora was inspired by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s A Consistent Ethic of Life.

Bernardin’s work grew from his observation that we must act consistently because all human life is sacred.

It was Bernadin’s view that it was inconsistent to protect life in some situations but not in others.

In the years following Roe v. Wade, Bernardin argued that human life is always valuable and must be respected consistently from conception to natural death.

Being pro-life is not only about abortion or euthanasia.

Being pro-life must encompass war, poverty, access to health care, education and anything that threatens human life or human wellbeing, he argued.

Stephen Lowe, the Bishop of Auckland, the Apostolic Administrator of Hamilton and President of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference, describes the update as “Opportune”.

Lowe says human life and emerging challenges are interconnected.

“The essence of Te Kahu o te Ora is the interconnectedness of all life, from the womb to the Earth,” he said.

Lowe says Pope Benedict put it well some years ago:

“There are so many kinds of desert. There is the desert of poverty, the desert of hunger and thirst, the desert of abandonment, of loneliness, of destroyed love. There is the desert of God’s darkness, the emptiness of souls no longer aware of their dignity or the goal of human life. The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast.”

“While traditional human life issues continue to need our attention, we are now facing many new problems, all interlinked.

“The key message of Te Kahu o te Ora is that everything is connected, whether it is life in the womb or the life of the Earth,” Lowe repeated.


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