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Annual Conference 2022 - The Mission of the Church in the Era of Global Public Health
The Institute for World Church and Mission encouraged scholars from various disciplines to reflect on the role and mission of the church in health care in the context of current global health challenges.
Since its beginnings, missionary activity has included nursing and health care work; therefore, one of our research priorities is “Mission and Health,” within which this conference is organized.


The conference sought to reflect on the role of the Catholic Church and its healing mission in this particular historical context. Experts from the fields of theology, philosophy, bioethics, public health, and global health reflected on many relevant topics, beginning with the founding of the Church’s healing mission, the anthropology of health, and the challenges of global health worldwide. The ultimate goal was to discuss the specific ways in which the Church can engage at the international and local levels.


The international experts presented the state of research in their respective areas mentioned above to stimulate discussion. In addition to academic debate, there was also space for pastoral questions and challenges.


Various formats awaited the participants in our virtual space: Presentations, panel discussions, sessions for young scholars, social events, and more. In addition to substantive discussion, the opportunity for networking and exchange beyond the conference was very important to us.


The conference was held virtually from March 30 to April 1, 2022.


The official conference language was English. Simultaneous translation was not provided.


Theological studies on bioethical and medical issues are generally focused on either classical bioethical issues or clinical ethics, while the broader aspect of public health(s) is often neglected. Public and global health have not yet found a significant place in theological discourse. On the other hand, the Covid 19 pandemic demonstrated the extent of interconnectedness between peoples and nations. The impact that national public health has on global health and vice versa is becoming increasingly clear. This situation has led to numerous studies and conferences on the ethical, social, and medical challenges of a global pandemic. Yet, there is still a notable gap in ecclesial reflection on the role of the Catholic Church in public and global health.

The program covered a wide range within health sciences and theology, such as:


  • public and global health
  • Moral theology
  • Bioethics
  • Pastoral health care
  • missiology
  • social engagement of the church.

“Global health challenges are complex and therefore require institutional partnerships for research and training.”  (Winchester et al., 2016, 5.)
Prof. Alexis Fritz
Professor of Moral Theology
Catholic University of Eichstätt
Ingolstadt, Germany


Prof. Ana Borovečki
Associate Professor
Andrija Štampar, School of Public Health
School of Medicine
University of Zagreb


Prof. Henk ten Have
Professor at Anahuac University in Mexico;


Dr. Klemens Ochel
Doctor of Medicine and
Specialist Advisor
Medical Mission Institute
Würzburg, Germany


Prof. Maria Luisa Di Pietro
Director of the Center for Research
and Studies on Procreative Health
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
Rome, Italy


Prof. Matthias Beck
Professor of Moral Theology
Catholic Faculty of Theology
University of Vienna, Austria


Prof. Michael Rozier, SJ
Assistant Professor
College for Public Health
and Social Justice
Saint Louis University
United States


Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo
Attaché at the Permanent Mission of the Holy See
to the UN


Dr. Sam Orach
Executive Secretary of Uganda
Catholic Medical Bureau (UCMB)


Prof. Stephan Rothlin, SJ
Director of the Macau Ricci Institute
Macau, China


Prof. Tyler VanderWeele
Director of the Human Flourishing Program
Co-Director of the Initiative on Health, Religion and Spirituality
Harvard University
United States


Prof. Walter Bruchhausen
Professor of Global Health
Institute for Hygiene and Public Health
University Hospital Bonn

Abstracts (In English und Spanish

Dr. Branka Gabric

Offenbacher Landstraße 224
60599 Frankfurt am Main

Raum: L  (Lindenbau)

Telefon: +49 69 6061-704