Knights of Malta host free bioethics lecture series

BOSTON -- The Knights of Malta are called in their charter to care for the sick and poor as well as defend the Catholic Church.

In keeping with that mission the Boston chapter of the organization has hosted a lecture series on bioethics for six years, said Gus Grace, chairman of the Knights’ medical ethics committee in the Boston area.

The free series, this year entitled “What Everyone Should Know to Make Informed Decisions,” will be held at St. Sebastian Country Day School in Needham on Oct. 28 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and includes lunch.

In ministering to the sick, the Knights found that many people had questions about continued medical care and did not know what the Catholic Church teaches on the issue, Grace said.

“We’re trying to educate as many lay people as possible in Catholic teaching on bioethics,” he said.

Because the Knights in Boston want everyone to have the opportunity to attend the lecture series, it is free and held in a different area each year. The six-year-old series was held for two years in the Diocese of Fall River and has been in different areas of the Archdiocese of Boston since.

The Knights also hope to attract nurses and licensed social workers to the event so that they can better understand Catholic teaching and how it applies to their professions. Continuing education credits are available for nurses, teachers and social workers who attend the lecture series.

The speakers change each year as well to offer a fresh perspective on the topic, he said.

This year the series consists of four talks, including “Dignity of the Human Person” given by a chaplain of the Order of Malta Msgr. Kevin Wallin, professor of moral theology at Assumption College in Worchester; Christopher Klofft will speak on “Procreation and Pre-Marital Relations,” “Making Informed End of Life Decisions” will be presented by Cheryl D. Kane; and Father Tadeusz Pacholczyck will speak on “The Science and Ethics of Stem Cells and Cloning.”

Grace added that the series covers a wide range of bioethical issues and presents not only what the Church teaches but why it holds those beliefs.

For more information or to reserve a seat at the conference, contact Gus Grace at 978-692-2888 or