Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-20-2019


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Health Care Ethics


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Gerard Magill

Committee Member

Joris Gielen

Committee Member

Peter Osuji


Ethics, Moral, Double Effect, Cooperation, Health Care, Natural Law, Moral Object, Catholic


Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Veritatis Splendor is the first and only magisterial document that systematically articulates a moral methodology for Catholic moral theology. This dissertation makes explicit the methodological connection between Vatican teaching and the United States Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. The thesis of the dissertation explains the systematic connection between Natural Law, the Moral Object of the Act, and the Principle of Double Effect and by extension the ethical Principle of Cooperation. Second, the thesis applies this complex moral method of official teaching to health care ethics.

Following the introduction, chapter two discusses the moral method of Natural Law and the Moral Object. Chapter 3 relates this explanation to the Principle of Double Effect. The subsequent chapters apply this moral method of official Catholic teaching to Catholic health care ethics, focusing on several emerging topics to emphasize the relevance of the theoretical approach. Chapter 4 discusses Health Care Ethics Consultations, especially engaging the Principle of Cooperation (enlightened by the Principle of Double Effect) with regard to prohibited health care services in Catholic health care. Chapter 5 considers the use of the Principle of Double Effect to justify bilateral salpingo-oophorectomies for BRCA mutation carriers and the uses of contraception for victims of sexual assault. Chapter 6 discusses the use of sex reassignment therapies for gender dysphoria and the use of contraceptive methods for non-contraceptive benefits.