The following comes from an April 5 story in the National Catholic Register.
Officials at Loyola Marymount University will soon select a new director of the university’s Bioethics Institute, but the search process has some alumni and donors concerned that officials could settle for a candidate whose views conflict with Catholic teaching on abortion.
The LMU search committee is seeking to fill the vacancy in the bioethics director position left by Jeffrey Wilson. According to information obtained by the National Catholic Register, at least two out of three candidates under active consideration by the LMU search committee have views favorable to abortion that conflict with Church teaching. Loyola Marymount is one of 28 institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
Denise Dudzinski, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington, has written about ethical scenarios that presuppose the moral permissibility of abortion. In an article in the March-April 2006 edition of The American Journal of Bioethics, Dudzinski writes that “predominant ethical framework for addressing reproductive decisions in the maternal-fetal relationship is respect for the woman’s autonomy.”
Ann Mongoven, an assistant professor at Michigan State University’s Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, has indicated that abortion and contraception are legitimate moral viewpoints in the Catholic tradition. In 2007, Mongoven wrote a book review of Sacred Rights: The Case for Abortion and Contraception in World Religions, describing the work in the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics as providing a “welcome and erudite corrective” to the “erroneous but prevalent assumption that world religions [including Roman Catholicism] oppose contraception and abortion.”
Neither Mongoven nor Dudzinski provided information about their views in response to emails and telephone calls from the Register seeking their comments.
A third candidate, E. Christian Brugger, an associate professor of moral theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, has writings delineating a pro-life position consistent with Church teaching. In an article for Public Discourse, Brugger wrote about the “intrinsic immorality of direct abortion — and euthanasia, embryo-destructive research, suicide and other offenses against the good of human life.” He is a senior fellow and director of fellows at the Culture of Life Institute in Washington.
A fourth candidate with writings supporting abortion in cases of severe fetal abnormality was also under consideration by LMU. However, he told the Register that he did not believe the university was a fit and had dropped out of consideration to accept a position elsewhere.
“This is disconcerting. Why would even one candidate with pro-abortion views be considered for hiring?” said David Luke, one of the organizers of Renew LMU, a group of LMU alumni concerned with maintaining the institution’s Catholic identity.
Luke said the Bioethics Institute advises local Catholic hospitals on life issues, and the next director would have enormous influence on policy and practice in hospitals. He said LMU’s president, David Burcham, has given the alumni group no confidence that he will hire a candidate consistent with Catholic teaching….
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