Belgian Archbishop lectures on health care and religion
Friday, March 23, 2007
Yesterday, Belgian Archbishop Godfried Danneels visited the Catholic University of Leuven to give a lecture on health care and religion, entitled "Care for the body, care for the mind". Some 120 people, mainly professors at the University Hospitals, but also clerics and students, attended the conference and following piano recital.
In his introduction speech, Dean of Medicine Bernard Himpens reminded the audience how much the art of medicine had changed since the time of Andreas Vesalius, probably the Faculty's most famous scientist. The Dean stressed the important role of the Hospital's Biomedical Ethics Committee, but added that religion continues to be important.
"Some people even believe that good ethics must be carried by faith, and any profound ethics should result in faith," the Dean noted. He asked the question where the evolution of a merely "passive tolerance for the Christian starting points" would lead the health care system.
In his lecture, the Archbishop acknowledged that the technical aspects of health care were probably the most important to achieve results, but that on the other hand, the medical-technical approach by itself could not guarantee the happiness of the patients.
Wikinews asked Professor Martin Hiele, Chairman of the Commission for Medical Ethics, if he felt there was a need for a lecture on the subject of religion and health care. He replied that
Prof. Bernard Spitz, from the University's Department of Developmental Biology and head of the Hospital's Obstetrics Department, told Wikinews that
The lecture was organised by the DeGroof Bank and the Faculty of Medicine. It is the first of three lectures on the subject of religion, spirituality and ethics in health care.
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