“We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the 'culture of death’ and the 'culture of life.’ We find ourselves not only 'faced with’ but necessarily 'in the midst of’ this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.” (Evangelium Vitae, 28)
Saint John Paul 2 pray for us!
Dr Robert Walley founded MaterCare as an organisation promoting the fullness of all human life, especially unborn life, through Christian principles, acting as a prophetic witness by reflecting on contemporary maternal and child health care in the light of the gospel and values presented in Evangelium Vitae and Deus Caritas Est.
Drawing on the highest medical and ethical standards, he intended MaterCare to ‘breathe’ life back into the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology.
Motherhood is the most complete expression of the special vocation of women and, it has redemptive value.
The conference theme ‘mothers are women too,’ is a quote from Dr Walley highlighting that, from the global perspective, caring for mothers is under-prioritized in women’s health, especially in the developing world.
Starting with a retreat dealing with obedience and authority in bioethical matters, 35 lectures were presented over 7 sessions involving eminent speakers from 14 countries and 4 continents.
Session 1 examined the profound clinical, ethical and spiritual impact of the COVID pandemic on patients and healthcare workers. It was noted that the birth rate has declined in numerous countries, and termination of pregnancy services were maintained or expanded. Suggestions on how to improve pastoral care were also presented.
Session 2 provided an update of the most recent literature on the numerous risks of hormonal contraception (many of which are not widely known), it outlined ethical approaches to family planning (including the Nigerian experience), and offered a moving reflection on the prophetic power of Humanae Vitae.
Session 3 addressed the training and formation of Catholic doctors, and a Catholic approach to controversies like progesterone reversal of medication abortion, helping couples requesting IVF & surrogacy, and the management of ectopic pregnancy in a Caesarean scar.
Session 4 highlighted morally acceptable prenatal screening and therapy (including perinatal palliative care), the eugenic dangers of heritable genome editing, and how best to accompany those suffering early pregnancy loss.
Sessions 5 and 6 examined the many factors determining success or failure in achieving legal protection of the unborn, landmark legal cases highlighting the need for legal protection of conscience for healthcare workers and patients, an update on foetal pain, the need to protect fatherhood as much as motherhood, and insights into the significance of our body in God’s salvific plan.
Sessions 7 focussed on the lives of 3 holy Catholic healthcare workers, and the purpose and outreach of MaterCare including current and future projects.
The closing session included a free communication, the ratification of this statement, and an invitation to the next Rome conference, our 12th, in 2024.