13C – Ethics and Ethical Issues

An Introduction the complex field of ethics.

As well as providing the background to Catholic Social Teaching this site works through particular ethical issues from a Catholic perspective.

The New Zealand Nathaniel Centre seeks to bring the light of the Gospel and the moral tradition of the Catholic Church to issues in bioethics.

Links to key Church teaching documents relating to bioethics:

  • Humanae Vitae 1968 – This encyclical outlines the church’s understanding of the purpose of marriage and establishes the church’s  teaching on contraception and abortion stating origins and reasons for the teaching.
  • Donum Vitae 1987 – This document builds on the teachings of Humanae Vitae and addresses issues especially those of In Vitro Fertilisation that arose after Humanae Vitae was released.  It also addresses other bioethical issues that were being raised as possibilities at the time such as babies being grown in artificial uteruses and human animal  hybrid breeding.
  • Dignitas Personae 2008 – This teaching builds on the first two. It looks at new aspects of IVF, embryo freezing, surrogacy and experimentation on embryos, as well as the commercialisation of gametes and human bodies.
  1. Support Resources for AS90826

    You may be assessed in your knowledge and understanding of Ethics and Ethical issues through Achievement Standard 90826.


    Remember that these are resources that fit the generic title of the standard.  You should read the actual standard 90826, the national moderator’s report, and the assessment task that your school has set.


    To meet AS90826 you are required to explain and analyse the response of a religious tradition to a contemporary ethical issue using a range of details and reasons (depth) and using a range of examples to support your answer (breadth).

    Therefore you have to fully describe a contemporary ethical issue saying what it is, how it arises, why it is an issue and what are some of the various responses to the issue. This will set the context for the response of the Catholic Church. The RESPONSE is the focus of the assessment. Then, you will be required to examine the response of the Catholic church to the issue. Examine in this standard means explain (give reasons for) and analyse (examine in great detail)

    Your school will choose from a wide range of ethical issues as the context for this assessment.  That may include the following:

    An important source of information about ethical issues from a Catholic perspective is The Nathaniel Centre. Established in 1999 part of its function is to act as an advisory and resource centre for individuals and group in the moral, ethical and spiritual implications of contempoary issues in light of the Gospel and the wisdom of the Catholic Church’s moral tradition.


    FaithCentral would love to know about sites that you have found useful in your preparation for assessment to any achievement standard. We are also keen to know what you would find helpful to have on FaithCentral. Please share your resources and views with us via ncrs@tci.ac.nz. Remember we are not miracle workers and will not be able to help the night before the task is due in.