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Tuesday, November 15, 2005


VATICAN CITY, NOV 15, 2005 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, presented the 20th international conference promoted by his dicastery. The meeting is due to be held in the Vatican from November 17 to 19, 2005, and will consider the theme of the human genome.
  Also present at this morning's  press conference were Bishop Jose L. Redrado O.H., and Fr. Felice Ruffini M.I., respectively secretary and under-secretary of the pontifical council; Maria Luisa Di Pietro, associate professor of bioethics at Rome's Sacred Heart Catholic University, and Fr. Angelo Serra S.J., professor emeritus of human genetics at the same university.

  Cardinal Lozano affirmed that the conference will begin "by considering the genome as a structural element that organizes the human body into its individual and hereditary dimensions; it comprehends the entirety of the genes, but goes further to embrace all the other elements that, with the genes, constitute the original energy, developing throughout an entire existence and representing the key mystery of human life."

  This subject, he went, on, "is very broad and is to a large extent subject to new research and discoveries," but our aim is to discuss it "from the specific perspective of health," stressing its therapeutic aspects.

  Work will begin, the cardinal said, "with scientific, philosophical and theological reflections to orient the rest of the conference towards the theme of life. ... From this starting point, our journey will be divided into three stages: reality, illumination, action."

  The cardinal went on: "In the first part of our conference we will consider the current reality of genetics, genomic studies and post-genomic studies; chromosome aberrations and congenital disorders; ... genetic predisposition to cancer; ... medical care for patients with these diseases and their families; judgement, error and negligence in genetic aspects of maternal fetal medicine; ... human genetics and its international juridical status; genetic research and international cooperation."

  During the second part of the conference, the cardinal said, reflection will focus on "the historical process of human genetics; ... the ethics of medical genetics; the path of liberal eugenics and the ethics of medical consultancy in the field of genetics." Attention will also be given to "the application of the knowledge of human genetics according to Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as genetics according to the ideas of post-modernity."

  In the last stage of the conference, said the president of the pontifical council, "we will examine genetics and the new culture, the pastoral vision of genetic research, medical genetics and ethical committees in hospitals, law and genetics, ... education and the updating of pastoral workers in the field of genetics, and the prevention of genetic diseases from the point of view of pastoral care."

  Cardinal Lozano concluded by highlighting the presence at the conference of top international experts in the field of science and theology, from 17 different countries: Italy, United Kingdom, Greece, France, Burkina Faso, U.S.A., Iceland, Switzerland, Holland, Colombia, Germany, Spain, India, Japan, Slovakia, Cuba and Mexico.
.../CONFERENCE:HUMAN GENOME/CON-AVA                VIS 20051115 (520)

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