First Advisor

Franco, Marie-Dominique


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis College Senior Honors Program

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

86 pages


During my time at Regis, I have constantly revisited one question: how can I, as an aspiring physician of faith, balance my moral obligation-that which comes from the overall Catholic Church-with my medical obligation-that which comes with the territory of being a physician? To what extent should moral law guide medical decision making-if an issue can be framed solely in a medical, as opposed to moral, context, can medical exceptions be made to moral law? If so, how do we differentiate these situations from others-what makes deviation from moral law acceptable in some cases and not others? The discernment theory, as a comprehensive Jesuit approach, helps determine where moral law should indeed guide medical practice, and where deviations from such law may be justified and necessary. By accepting the significance of the concrete situation, discernment theory avoids blind obedience to the law; by rooting itself in reality; discernment theory avoids relativism Thorough discernment theory application is especially important in considering abortion, sterilization, and physician-assisted suicide. While I am unable to reconcile every situation through discernment theory application, I now know that, for me, moral obligation takes precedence to medical obligation.

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colorado

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