Officials at Benedictine College, a private Catholic institution in Atchison, Kansas, recently announced plans to house a new, independent Catholic medical school on its campus. Part of the foundation’s goal is to train physicians in an environment steeped in Catholic values regarding contraception, abortion, and end-of-life issues.
The initiative, which is expected to cost $120 million, is a partnership with Catholic Healthcare International, an organization that aims to “be a model for Christian healthcare delivery” based on the work of Padre Pio, a Catholic priest and saint who opened a historic hospital in Italy. Catholic Healthcare International signed a collaboration agreement with the Benedictines in early September to begin planning for the proposed medical school, called the St. Padre Peu Institute for Suffering Relief, the College of Osteopathic Medicine. It will be operated and financed independently.
The hope is that the medical school will obtain accreditation and open its doors by 2026; It hopes to eventually enroll around 180 students annually who will earn a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree, take coursework, and potentially earn a master’s degree in Catholic Bioethics.
Stephen de Menis, president of the Benedictines, said he believes “this will be one of the most dedicated Catholic medical schools in the world.”
“It is essential to train future physicians in a place like Benedictine College that understands the essential role of faith and ethics in science,” said Menes. press release. “The community culture, faith, and scholarship on campus that we have worked so hard to create would be the perfect setting for the proposed Padre Pio Medical School at Benedictine College.”
The announcement comes shortly after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, ending federal protections for abortion rights and sparking student protests across the country. The decision sparked statements from campus leaders that ranged from disapproval to festive to me Carefully neutralColleges and universities were flooded Unknown legal water on how to serve students who may wish to terminate a pregnancy while adhering to Mixture of new state laws. The University of Idaho, for example, Advise faculty members Refrain from sharing public opinions on the issue to avoid potential legal problems.
However, the people behind the new medical school are clear about where the school’s policies on abortion and forms of contraception, such as the birth control pill, which Catholic doctrine sees as a way to end life will stand.
“Even if it’s within 24 hours, if that prevents a fertilized egg from implanting, under Catholic faith, that’s considered a person,” said George Meshasquiw, Founding President and CEO of Future School. “And you can use any euphemism you want, whether you say — it’s a group of cells, or an embryo, or an embryo, or a child… Two things cannot be denied according to the Catholic point of view: He is undoubtedly alive. He is undoubtedly human. It is not cats.” It’s not a chicken egg.”
Mikasquiw, who is currently professor and vice chair of the department of anesthesia and director of perioperative services at Oceaner State University Louisiana Health Sciences Center, said there are nine Catholic medical schools in the United States, but they are “nominally Catholic,” essentially secular institutions under a religiously affiliated college or university. .
Instituto Sant Padre Pio will be the first medical school in the country to adhere to the “Ex corde Ecclesiae,” an order issued by the late Pope Saint John Paul II that governs what is expected of Catholic colleges and universities. As a result, the medical school will have a majority of Catholic faculty, Catholic lay leaders, and a Catholic board of directors. Coaches will also be required to sign a “pledge of allegiance to Catholic principles,” which includes “life issues,” such as continuing to give nutrition and fluids to patients with chronic illnesses as part of palliative care and not having abortions.
He noted that these limitations do not mean that students will not be taught about abortion from a scientific perspective, but will also be taught the Catholic perspective on the subject and taught to advise patients about carrying a pregnancy to term and to consider options such as adoption. Students will also learn Catholic doctrine about acceptable and unacceptable contraceptives.
“They will understand what a miscarriage is, how it is done, and what the medical issues are related to miscarriage and complications,” he said. But the school will also have the firm moral and Catholic position on the acceptance of abortion and any cases related to it. So, he takes an ethical stance on that, but he’s not shy about actually teaching about science and technology.”
Carol Hogg, professor emeritus of epidemiology and Jules and Olden Terry professor emeritus of maternal and child health at Emory University, have expressed concern that training doctors in a strict Catholic approach to medicine could contribute to maternal deaths.
“From a public health perspective, maternal mortality is the sixth leading cause of death for women aged 16-34, and much of what Catholic doctrine prohibits in Catholic hospitals speaks directly about saving the lives of pregnant women and avoiding pregnancy with effective contraception when she said no They want to get pregnant. I want to prevent loss of life, and they don’t. Abortion is just a small part of it.”
Hough pointed out that there It was lawsuits against catholic hospitals For not providing timely abortion to women with an ectopic pregnancy and other potentially fatal pregnancy complications.
Daniel Solmacy, director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and professor of medicine and philosophy at Georgetown University, a Jesuit institution, said he sees the new medical school as a positive development. He believes that faith-based medical education can foster a “true sense of calling and mission” in future physicians and train them to pay more attention to spiritual beliefs and patients’ needs.
He also noted that the student body at Instituto Sant Padre Pio is likely to differ from most Catholic medical schools, which tend to attract high proportions of non-religious students and have a range of views on issues such as abortion. He said that medical students in these institutions often train in Catholic teaching hospitals that adhere to Catholic principles and are taught Catholic views on medical issues, but also offer secular perspectives, and strong discussions often occur in the classroom.
For example, Selmasi teaches a course in medical ethics that includes the philosophy of Peter Singer, a bioethicist who argues that abortion is moral. Salmassi sees Georgetown University as a place where students who support and oppose abortion rights can comfortably express their opinions and have a “really refreshing and open dialogue, where people actually speak respectfully in ways that I think abortion cannot happen in secular institutions.”
He believes that even for most anti-abortion students, Catholic medical ethics should be taught “in dialogue with opposing viewpoints, if the only reason is that if you want people to believe it, they should be able to defend it,” he said. .
Mychaskiw hopes to train doctors to work in Catholic hospitals across the country who would benefit from having doctors who are “culturally comfortable” in Catholic settings and familiar with the limitations they follow. But he also expects some students to go to work in secular hospitals. He believes that training medical professionals, with an emphasis on “high quality” academics as well as Catholic philosophical underpinnings, is his own form of religious communication.
“Our view in evangelism is that our physicians and their practice by caring for and respecting every human life and the dignity of life, through their work, will be an example of how physicians in the Catholic tradition care for humans,” he said. “We are not here to stand on a street corner and preach. We are here to care for the sick and suffering, and through that, demonstrate and live our faith.
“Health care is short everywhere,” he added. “I think, at the end of the day, whatever hospital I’m in, I want a doctor who really takes care of me as a human being, as a patient, and who respects my life and my dignity.”