The Pontifical Council for Pastoral
THE CHARTER FOR
Vatican City - 1995
The result of long, careful, and multidisciplinary preparation, The Charter for Health Care Workers, has now been published, through the initiative of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers.
It is certainly a source of satisfaction that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has approved and confirmed, both fully and swiftly, the text of the Charter which was submitted to it - one more reason to recognize its thorough validity, as well as a concrete confirmation of the effectiveness of the interdepartmental cooperation which was expressly desired by the Motu Proprio instituting the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers.
There are many reasons why we must know, disseminate, and apply the directives contained in this deontological code for health workers. This publication fills a gap which has been clearly observed not only in the Church, but by all those identifying with the Church's primary task to advance and defend life.
The extraordinary progress of science and technology in the immense field of health policy and care have made bioethics, or the ethics of life, a discipline in its own right. Hence the need - rigorously responded to by the Charter for
Health Care Workers - to provide an organic, exhaustive summary of the Church's position on all that concerns affirming the primary, absolute value of life in the health field - of all life and of the life of every human being.
Consequently, after an introduction on the figure and essential tasks of health workers - or, rather, "ministers of life" - the Charter groups together its directives around the threefold subject-matter of generation, living, and dying. And so that subjective interpretation will not prevail over the objective value of this content - as often happens - in drafting the document there has almost invariably been a preference for drawing upon the words of the Supreme Pontiffs or of the authoritative texts published by the departments of the Roman Curia. These references plainly demonstrate that the Church's position on fundamental problems in bioethics - while maintaining the unalterable limits of advancing and defending life - is highly constructive and open to the true progress of science and technology, when firmly joined to that of civilization.
At the beginning of the Charter it is stated that the health worker's activity is "a form of Christian witness."
With humility - but also with pride - we can thus regard this Charter for Health Care Workers as an integral part of the "new evangelization," which, in serving life, particularly in those suffering, following the example of Christ's ministry, encounters its decisive dimension.
It is hoped, then, that this tool will come to form part of the initial and ongoing training of health workers, so that their witness will be a demonstration that the Church, in defending life, opens her heart and her arms to all men, for Christ's message is addressed to all.
I - PROCREATION
II - LIFE
III - DEATH
Requests for the Charter and payment should be sent to