Last Thursday at Rome’s (but technically part of Vatican City) Pontifical Lateran University, Istituto Acton held a day-long conference on “Ethics, Aging and the Coming Healthcare Challenge.”
It was a successful event, if a bit unusual compared to some of our other Roman gatherings. It’s not often that an Acton conference is so focused on the finality of death, after all; we often stick to the other “inevitability” of life, i.e. taxes. Yet in both spiritual and economic terms, there’s no sense in denying it.
The conference covered many different aspects of the changing demographics affecting health care, ranging from declining fertility rates to pharmaceutical research to pensions to hospice care. One of the main objectives of the conference was to help participants understand how both ethics and economics can work together to help us confront the challenge of aging populations.
The conference was co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the John Paul II Institute for the Study of Marriage and Family, the Centro di Orientamento Politicio, Associazione Famiglia Domani, Human Life International, and Health Care Italia. As you can tell from the nature of these organizations, we sought to place health care issues in the context of the family, following Catholic social teaching’s emphases on this fundamental institution and the principle of subsidiarity.
Here are audio clips from three of our speakers who appeared on Vatican Radio’s English World News service:
Bishop Jean Laffitte, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, click here
Dr. Daniel Sulmasy of the University of Chicago, click here
Dr. Michael Hodin, executive director of the Global Coalition on Aging, click here
For the first time, we live-streamed a conference on the Acton website, and we’ll soon post the conference papers and presentations as well as related media on the Istituto Acton webpage.