A “bioethics survival kit” for World Youth Day pilgrims



The young people from all five continents who gather in Rio in July 2013 for World Youth Day will find in their backpacks a “bioethics survival kit”:  a special WYD edition of A Student’s Guide to Bioethics, produced by the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation at the request of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).  The manual, nicknamed BIOBOOK, will be available in French, Portuguese, English and Spanish editions.  In early spring two million copies will be printed in Chile for the registered pilgrims expected at the event. 

Originally entitled Manuel Bioéthique des jeunes, this educational resource was first published in France in 2006 by the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation in response to a qualifying examination in science that was marred by ideological bias.  The objective of A Student’s Guide to Bioethics is “to go beyond the cosmetic rhetoric and to focus again on the reality of the biological facts and their ethical implications”.  The French edition has been a great success:  more than 300,000 copies have been distributed free of charge to students, parents and schools that have requested it. 

The Student’s Guide is simply and clearly organized in eight chapters on the topics:  “The story of a little human being”, “Abortion”, “Prenatal diagnosis”, “Medically assisted procreation”, “Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis”, “Embryo research”, “Euthanasia”, and “Organ donation”.  A special dossier that was recently added to the updated edition deals with “gender theory”.  In each chapter the reader finds definitions, descriptions of medical procedures, an explanation of current French law on the topic, a Q&A section, ethical reflections and one or more personal testimonies.  The book is attractively formatted and illustrated with full-color photographs, charts and whimsical drawings. 

The Student’s Guide to Bioethics is designed to put questions of bioethics on a scientific basis so as to allow the readers to reflect on them objectively and to make free, well-informed value judgments.  This rigorous yet accessible approach to bioethical subjects makes it a valuable educational tool, not just for young people but also for adults. 

For the 2013 World Youth Day in Rio, a special edition of A Student’s Guide to Bioethics was produced that includes passages from Scripture and Magisterial documents at the end of each chapter.  Thus it goes beyond ethical reflection based on reason and the natural law and draws from the wealth of Catholic moral teaching.  Among the Church documents cited are the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, the Instruction Dignitas personae, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and papal addresses by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. 

 The special WYD edition of A Student’s Guide to Bioethics will help the participants to discover the Gospel of Life and to understand that it is compatible with science and reason.  The theme of the 2013 World Youth Day is:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19).  With the BIOBOOK, the young pilgrims will have the adequate training and tools to be promoters of a culture of life.   

More information about A Student’s Guide to Bioethics can be found at www.Lejeuneusa.org.

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About Michael J. Miller 127 Articles
Michael J. Miller Michael J. Miller translated Priesthood and Diaconate by Gerhard Ludwig Müller for Ignatius Press and Eucharist and Divorce: A Change in Doctrine? for the Pontifical John Paul II Institute.