KIE Senior Research Scholar John Keown received the extraordinary honor of being inducted into the Pontifical Academy for Life (Pontifice Academia Pro Vita) on Thursday, February 23, 2012, in the New Synod Hall at the Vatican in Rome. The Academy was founded by Pope John Paul II and exists to promote the defense of human life particularly in the context of bioethics.
The induction ceremony is part of an annual conference on a particular topic in bioethics that traditionally ends with a Papal audience in the magnificent Clementine Hall. This year’s conference, the XVIII General Assembly of Members, held from February 23-25, 2012, included a workshop on infertility. Pope Benedict XVI had the energy to greet some of the new members. While Dr. Keown was not among this small number, he previously had this honor when he presented an article entitled “Eugenics and the Law” during the annual conference in 2009.
When asked what could have precipitated his induction into the Academy, Keown said, with his characteristic charm and humility, that the news came out of the blue and he did not know how he came to be elected. Keown has published widely on the ethics and law of medicine, particularly on issues involving the beginning and end of life, including abortion, palliative care, and euthanasia, and has shown constant respect for the Catholic value of care for the human person independently of the person’s age or illness. His work speaks for itself and this extraordinary honor attests to its wide influence both domestically and internationally.