Bioethics is the application of ethics to the field of medicine. Ethicists ask two questions - “What is the right or good thing to do?” and “What are our obligations to one another?”

[display_podcast] This podcast made available from RNN.

Fr Kevin Doran, the Irish Catholic Church’s spokesperson on Bioethics, discusses the relation between faith and medical practice, in particular IVF.

Irish Bishops’ Consultative Group for Bioethics

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The Consultative Group for Bioethics is a forum for the exploration of current issues in the ethics of healthcare and of biomedical research. It seeks to develop and promote an understanding of these issues which is consistent with the gospel, with the teaching of the magisterium, and the best available scientific knowledge.


A Committee for Bioethics was established in 1996 as a sub-committee of the Joint Healthcare Commission. It subsequently became an independent commission of the Episcopal Conference, under the umbrella of the Department of Catholic Education and Formation. In 2005 it developed into a Bishops’ Consultative Group.

The modus operandi of the group is to draw on the expertise of a large interdisciplinary panel of consultors, drawn from the various healthcare professions, the natural sciences, philosophy and theology.

Work of the Consultative Group for Bioethics

The Consultative Group:

  1. prepares guidelines for the Irish Episcopal Conference on bioethical issues;
  2. prepares materials which will communicate the Church’s teaching on bioethical issues to various categories of people – Catholic professionals, other Christians, lay Catholics, the general public;
  3. suggests areas in the bioethical field or in related spheres for research and study by the Catholic Bishops’ Joint Committee on Bio-Ethical Issues (Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales)
  4. promotes circulation of documents published by the Joint Committee on these issues.

A number of documents have been prepared by the Consultative Group for the Irish Bishops’ Conference on End of Life Care and Artificial Human Reproduction. The group has acted as an advisory body to the Episcopal Conference on aspects of biomedical research, including pharmaceutical trials and stem cell research.

The Consultative Group responds to requests from the media via the Catholic Communications Office.

Contact details

Fr. Kevin Doran

Tel: +353 (0)1 808 7531
Email: [email protected]