An appreciation for the papacy of John Paul II, this volume was produced shortly after his death on April 2, 2005. Two of his encyclicals come in for close examination, namely Evangelium vitae, the great essay on the good of human life, and Veritatis splendor, the Pope’s examination of act of moral judgment. Dr. John Haas situates the concerns of Evangelium vitae within the context of American culture, while Father Kevin Flannery, S.J., looks at from the perspective of contemporary debates in moral theology, Veritatis splendor providing two illustrative examples: the provision of nutrition and hydration to debilitated patients and the use of condoms by those infected with AIDs. The topic of food and water is examined by Richard Doerflinger, whose offers a perceptive set of reflections on John Paul II’s controversial statement on patients in a persistent vegetative state. Sarah-Vaughn Brakman takes a more comprehensive look at the writing of John Paul, offering an assessment of the key moral principles he advanced. Other topics of interest include presentations on stem cell research and cloning by Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, on surgical sterilization by Monsignor Russell Smith, and on the work of Dr. Thomas Hilgers, the father of NaProTechnology, a method of increasing the fertility of patients who are facing difficulties conceiving. Sr. Renee Mirkes, O.S.F., provides a wealth of detail about the techniques and effectiveness of this approach, one which is fully compatible with Catholic teaching on human sexuality. There are also entries on the corporate concerns of Catholic health care, including the problem of the uninsured and underinsured, by Anthony Tersigni, President and CEO of Ascension Health, how Catholic institutions can advance its vision of health care in a culture that rejects our vision of health care by Peter Cataldo, and a look at the challenges facing the Catholic provision of health care in Europe and Latin America. Additional essays discuss the very practical subjects of organ donation, vaccination refusals, and rape protocols.

Edward J. Furton, Ph.D., is an ethicist and Director of Publications at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.