, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 147-169

The Core Competencies: A Roman Catholic Critique

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Abstract

This article critically examines, from the perspective of a Roman Catholic Healthcare ethicist, the second edition of the Core Competencies for Healthcare Ethics Consultation report recently published by the American Society for Humanities and Bioethics. The question is posed: can the competencies identified in the report serve as the core competencies for Roman Catholic ethical consultants and consultation services? I answer in the negative. This incongruence stems from divergent concepts of what it means to do ethics consultation, a divergence that is rooted in each perspective's very different visions of autonomy. Furthermore, because of the constitutive elements of Catholic ethics consultation, such as the Ethical and Religious Directives for Health Care Services, the tradition needed to apply those directives, and the Catholic facility’s membership in the institutional Church, the competencies needed for its practice differ in kind from those identified by the report. While there are many practical points of convergence, the competencies identified by the report should not be adopted uncritically by Catholic healthcare institutions as core competencies for ethical consultation services.