The Vatican’s publishing house has recently released the proceedings of an interdisciplinary study seminar sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) under the title Etica teologica della vita. Scrittura, tradizione, sfide pratiche (Theological Ethics of Life: Scripture, tradition, practical challenges). The participants responded to a basic text (BT) previously developed by a group of theologians convened by the PAV. The service PAV offers to the Church includes the fostering dialogue among voices expressing different cultural and theological sensitivities so as to stimulate a richer, deeper understanding of the themes connected with the ethics of life.
As Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the PAV, explains in the introduction to the volume, Pope Francis was informed from the beginning of this initiative and the publication of the proceedings, and he personally encouraged an academic debate on this theme, with the coordination of the PAV. A significant element of this work is the effort to reread the ethics of life, listening to the concerns that the pontiff himself has addressed to theologians.
The work we are presenting here deals with the fundamental themes of theological bioethics in the age in which we are living, including “controversial aspects of the theological ethics of life” (p. 6.) Given the breadth of topics and the plurality of viewpoints of the authors, this is a particularly valuable contribution because of its inclusive and synodal character. Inclusion and synodality inevitably go hand in hand.