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The Church's teaching on the beginning and end of human life is not a collection of arbitrary rules, but a mystagogical initiation into the sacred vision of triune generosity shining through human birth, reproduction, and death. It is no wonder, then, that the attack on the human person in contemporary society most often coincides with one of these milestones at which we are the most vulnerable, indeed, the most human. This four-part series examines these themes, as well as the particular vulnerability and ability found at the heart of disability. Included here are the papers from the 2014 conference "The A.R.T. of Reproduction: Re-conceiving the Human Person."

Beginning and End of Life

The first of our four-part series on Health and Medicine, this issue probes the mystery found at the beginning and end of life. It seems no coincidence that it is also this issue that marks the final farewell to our founding editor, Stratford Caldecott, who passed away on July 17 after a protracted battle with cancer. He is greatly missed.

Re-Conceiving the Human Person: the A.R.T. of Reproduction

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) provoke fundamental questions which cannot be suppressed…questions about human identity and human origins, about motherhood and fatherhood, about the human body and human nature itself. ARTs will have an enormous impact on the future shape of society, on whether and to what extent our children’s children live under some sort of technological totalitarianism. In this issue we take up these momentous questions, by presenting the papers from the CCPR’s 2014 conference: “The ART of Reproduction: Re-Conceiving the Human Person.”

The Ability of Disability

In many ways it is disability—its disfigurement, impairment, vulnerability and dependence—which raises the objection we have to life at its beginning and end. It is disability that we want to avoid. For this reason then we turn to disability directly, to ask to what extent the anomaly of disability casts a light onto one of the central features of the humanum as such…. to what extent, that is, it is an ability.

Catholicism and the Future of Medicine

This issue is the fruit of an ongoing dialogue between the CCPR and a group of doctors at the Mayo clinic concerning the nature of medicine, the nature of the human body, and of the necessary link between health and the religious dimension of the human being.

Humanum: Issues in Family, Culture & Science
Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family
620 Michigan Ave. N.E. (McGivney Hall)
Washington, DC 20064