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"The defense of life is not at odds with a totally scientific speech in which we can all find common agreements."

Arguments interviews Full Professor Jokin de Irala on the occasion of his upcoming participation in the colloquium Familia y Vida, to be held in Pamplona on November 14 and 15.

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PHOTO: Manuel Castells
03/11/14 12:14 Arguments/ICS

Argumentsa association multidisciplinary dedicated to the resources of catechesis in which more than 150 volunteers, including journalists, professors, university professors and catechists, will celebrate on colloquium Family and Life the days November 14 and 15 in Pamplona. One of the speakers will be Jokin de IralaFull Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the University of Navarra and researcher main of the project 'Education of affectivity and human sexuality' of the Institute for Culture and Society. On the occasion of his participation in the meeting, the Culture of Life team of Arguments has interviewed him.

- You are a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life in Rome. What are your duties?

The Pontifical Academy for Life, founded by Pope John Paul II in 1994, has as goal promote the progress of the programs of study and the information and training on the main topics of bioethics, and of law, related to the promotion and defense of life. In my case, I participate as a corresponding member and, given my training in Medicine and Public Health, in the sessions of work and the general assemblies that elaborate texts that have to do with the defense of life from the moment of conception to natural death.

- What are the main challenges the Catholic Church faces today in maintaining its defense of life?

Understanding by "Catholic Church" all of us who are part of it, I think we have the following challenges: not to use our convictions as weapons to judge those who do not think like us; to know how to truly love those we try to explain the truth about the defense of life; to overcome what may be sentiment and ideology in the discussion of abortion and for this we must better understand those who do not think like us; to offer feasible alternatives to abortion to protect motherhood, especially when it takes place in young people who are not prepared for it.

- In recent times, it is undeniable that abortion is becoming one of the most controversial issues in public opinion. How could the Church better explain that it does not want to "condemn" women in any way?

Officially, the Church has already clearly shown in its magisterium that it is concerned for the pregnant woman who is considering abortion or for the woman who has already had an abortion and who suffers for having made that decision. It is also concerned about young people who do not make position of the consequences of their sexuality. All of us in the Church can do more for these young people. For example, we can try to better explain the beauty of human sexuality when it is lived in the context of stable love between a man and a woman. Trying to better welcome young people, girls and boys, who are faced with the decision of abortion so that they can truly see that their lives can go forward while letting the unborn continue to live. They are often confused and frightened. If we do not truly welcome these young people, putting ourselves in their shoes and understanding their fears, we can do little to defend the life of the unborn.

- As a university professor, do you think we need to change the way we explain ourselves when defending life?

At the university level I find it very interesting to be able to stay in the scientific speech (both anthropological and from biomedicine). All these topics can be explained very well using scientific language. Fortunately, science is not opposed to a true defense of life.

- The defense of life has very concrete manifestations: euthanasia, embryo selection, experimentation with embryos... Is it necessary to be Catholic to defend life in coherence with human dignity?

Clearly not. There are many non-Catholics, even non-believers, who defend these questions as we do. This is not at odds with a fully scientific speech in which we can all find common agreement.