In an article published recently in the National Catholic Register, Catholic theologian and Academic Dean of Thales College, Grattan Brown, discusses the human problems in healthcare the pandemic revealed.
COVID-19 has forced many ordinary people to act as heroes at a time when modern medical technology has been saving lives, even while ill patients in hospitals have suffered alone, cut off from loved ones and interacting only with health care staff. Brown observes that “Heroes are not formed in a moment, a week, or a month. They are often formed by the variety of religious traditions that the right to religious freedom defends.” Once the pandemic ends, these heroes will still have to grapple with these human problems and then, as now, robustly protecting their religious conscience will continue to be essential for them to fulfill their profession’s high calling.
Brown goes on to explain the American tradition of religious freedom and why it is so important now:
Today, we need this doctrine so that those who sincerely hold religious convictions may bring their tradition’s wisdom to deeply human problems in a secularized, technology-rich culture. Like the philosophical traditions informing the consciences of non-religious people, religious traditions preserve wise understanding and action on the most important human concerns.
It may seem impossible today to replace political invective with reasoned debate by sound political, philosophical and, yes, even theological thinking. But the American Founders pointed the way — through the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, particularly in its First Amendment — by protecting freedom of religion and conscience for all. These fundamental freedoms continue to help medical providers address the challenges of COVID-19 and other medical crises with careful thought, ethical judgment, and above all, human compassion.
Read the full article: COVID-19 Pandemic Exposes Great Need for Delivering Care Based on Conscience and Compassion.
More RFI Commentary on Medical Conscience Rights: