Catholic Church starts Bioethics Forum

The Conference of Catholic Bishops’ of India (CCBI) has established a Bioethics Forum, which will be headed by Archbishop Felix Toppo SJ of Ranchi, chairman of the CCBI Commission for Theology and Doctrine, will be head the forum.

 Father Christopher Vimalraj, currently the director of Germain Academy, from the Archdiocese of Bangalore is its first director.

The CCBI Bioethics Forum will work under the CCBI Commission for Theology and Doctrine.

Bioethics is generally understood to refer to the ethical implications and applications of the health-related life sciences.

The forum is a consultative forum that engages with moral questions arising in clinical practice, biomedical research and public policy on healthcare issues, through a person-centered bioethical approach.

The forum will engage in scholarly dialogue with healthcare workers, bioethicists, lawyers and theologians. It will also seek to study the implications of the teachings of the Catholic Church for the fields of medical practice and public policy

The decision to establish the Bioethics Forum was taken during the 87th Executive Committee meeting of the CCBI, held September 20-21.

The CCBI had come up with a bioethics document concerning the Covid vaccine—“A Catholic Ethical Response to Questions about Covid-19 Vaccines”—on February 11 this year.

Father Vimalraj is a moral theologian and an adjunct professor of Bioethics, Division of Health and Humanities, St. John’s National Institute of Health Sciences, Bengaluru. He is also a member of the Institutional Ethics Committee at St. John’s Medical College and the Indian Council of Medical Research, Bangalore.

He holds a doctorate in moral theology from the Accademia Alfonsiana, Rome. He took a master’s degree in Bioethics from the Gemelli Medical College, Rome.

He was born on October 23, 1967, and ordained a priest on July 11, 2007. He is currently the director of St. Germain Academy, Bengaluru.