This unit examines the biblical perspective on the value of human life and health care, considers the basic principles of Christian health ethics, the primacy of the person and the duty of reasonable care at every stage of human life, and moral principles relevant to the identity of Catholic hospitals. Topics covered include abortion, euthanasia, the withholding of treatment, HIV/AIDS, rape, the anencephalic foetus, transplants of donated organs, human research, the allocation of scarce resources, triage and other issues raised by the environment, and modern medical technology: prenatal diagnosis, treatments for infertility, reproductive technology and embryonic stem cell research.

Unit Code: DT3060C

Points: 18.0

Unit Level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit Discipline: Moral Theology

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning Outcomes


Articulate an understanding of how the Catholic bioethical principles are based on insights drawn from biblical texts, the Christian tradition, Catholic teaching and sound philosophical reasoning for the good of the human person;


Engage critically with arguments to support a Christian understanding of Bioethics and Healthcare Ethics in response to its secular critics;


Analyse and evaluate arguments for the moral inviolability of human life from conception to death, including cases of voluntary euthanasia;


Demonstrate a familiarity with the general ethical responsibilities of healthcare professionals in their dealings with patients and/or their children, born or unborn;


Apply Catholic ethical principles in a critical and nuanced manner to frequently occurring cases in the domain of assisted reproductive technology, pregnant women whose unborn children may be affected by a congenital abnormality, and extremely low birth weight newborns;


Evaluate why some medical treatments may be ordinary or morally obligatory in some circumstances, and not obligatory in different circumstances for other patients.


Assist others in a pastoral situation in making informed decisions on health-related issues in the light of Catholic teaching.

Unit sequence

CT1000C; CT1001C; BS1001C; BS1002C


Lectures, tutorials


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)

3000 word essay

3000 40.0
Written Examination

2 hour exam (short essays and case scenarios)


Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 31 Dec, 2015

Unit Record last updated: 2019-06-27 12:10:10 +1000