The Institution of the European Bioethics working group
In implementation of the resolutions, and the wishes, of the last General Chapter, the Europe Commission has established its Bioethics Working Group. The Commission has appointed Dr. Salvino Leone to serve as President, with the following members: Dr. Maria Teresa Iannone, Dr. Corinna Porteri, Mr. Margarita Bofarull, Sr. Maria Carmen Massé, Dr. José Maria Galan, Dr. Jurgen Wallner, Brother Bruno Saintot, and Brother Lucas Dmowski. These are the same people who have been long been involved in Bioethics in the Order and some of them have been, or are still, members of the General Commission on Bioethics.
The new European Bioethics Working Group was installed on 29 November, and set out its operational lines which basically consist of raising the Order’s awareness of Bioethics in Europe; providing formation and identifying the most appropriate ways of achieving this, and debating within the Order in Europe the most topical and critical issues in the field of Bioethics. These mainly include end-of-life issues, the ethics of management, safeguarding vulnerable people, the sustainability of the planet with particular reference to Laudato sii, and various clinical Bioethics issues.
The priority task of the Working Group will be to rally the Order in Europe around commonly shared objectives, decisions, languages, and choices, avoiding fragmenting values while respecting different cultural sensitivities and individual consciences.
The Working Group has already undertaken a number of specific commitments, such as mapping what is already being done in Bioethics in the Order's European facilities, studying end-of-life problems (comparing the legislation of different Member States of the European Union, and holding them up against the Order's Charter of Hospitality, etc.), and a project to identify ways of implementing different types of management ethics.
The Group will also work on exchanging experiences and projects with similar groups in the other Regional Commissions of the Order. While it is not an autonomous legal entity (being a structure belonging to the Hospitaller Order) it is hoped that its work can attract the attention of European bodies with which it will be able to engage in dialogue in the future, in the name of the Hospitaller Order.