About Us

The National Catholic Bioethics Center Professional Staff

John M. Haas, Ph.D., S.T.L., K.M., President

John M. Haas is the President of The National Catholic Bioethics Center. The Center was established in 1972 to apply the teachings of the Catholic Church to ethical issues arising from developments in medicine, the life sciences and civil law. It is the largest Catholic publisher of books and periodicals on bioethics in the country. Dr. Haas received his Ph.D. in Moral Theology from The Catholic University of America and his S.T.L. in Moral Theology from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He also has a Master of Divinity degree and has studied at the University of Munich and the University of Chicago Divinity School. Before assuming the Presidency of The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Dr. Haas was the John Cardinal Krol Professor of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Adjunct Professor at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Haas also served as a member of the Medical Moral Commission of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and was a faculty member of the Commission for Inter-professional Education and Practice at Ohio State University. He was also Professor of Moral Theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Worthington, Ohio. Dr. Haas has testified before the Joint Judiciary Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature on physician-assisted suicide and before the US Senate Committee on Health and Public Safety on the subject of cloning humans. He has also provided testimony to the President’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission. He has written many articles on topics ranging from the role of the laity in the Church, to sexual morality, social justice issues and bio-ethics. He is the editor of and a contributor to Crisis of Conscience (Herder/ Crossroads), a contributor to Christian Marriage: A Historical Study (Herder/Crossroads), has written Marriage and the Priesthood and Contraception: A Personal Odyssey (Scepter Press), and is a contributing editor to Crisis, the St. Austin Review and Touchstone magazines. His Opinion Pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad, including Peru, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, and at the Vatican. He is a consultant to the Committee for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is a former board member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and is a board member and faculty member of the International Catholic University. In 2002 Dr. Haas was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Christian Ethics by the Franciscan University of Steubenville. In 2004 he was elected to the board of the International Federation of Bioethics Centers and Institutes of Personalist Inspiration based in Rome under the leadership of Bishop Elio Sgreccia and in 2006 he was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life by Pope Benedict XVI. For a number of years Dr. Haas produced and hosted a national television program known as The St. Charles Forum which was carried on the Catholic network EWTN.

Dr. Haas is also Founder and President of the International Institute for Culture based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Institute promotes international understanding through cultural means. It organizes and sponsors international conferences, a two month intensive summer classics institute offering instruction in Greek and Latin which draws people from around the country, a choral group known as Schola Nova which specializes in Gregorian Chant and Renaissance Polyphony, a Spanish language program in Mexico for high school students, another for executives and one for Catholic seminarians and priests. The Institute also organizes a three week international cultural program in Bavaria on the relationship between faith and culture.

In the early eighties Dr. Haas was a registered foreign agent for the National Bank of Mexico and Executive Director of Banamex Cultural Foundation, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit educational corporation which sought to promote bi-lateral relations and understanding between the United States and Mexico through cultural means. He also served as a consultant to the Department of Justice on Hispanic and Family Issues during the first Reagan Administration. He is a Knight of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.

Dr. Haas and his wife Martha have nine children and a growing number of grandchildren and reside in Philadelphia.

John F. Brehany, Ph.D., S.T.L, Director of Institutional Relations

John Brehany, Ph.D., S.T.L., joined The National Catholic Bioethics Center as Director of Institutional Relations in January 2015. Prior to that, he served as executive director and ethicist of the Catholic Medical Association from 2006-2014, where he was responsible for coordinating efforts to strengthen the CMA internally and to enhance its ability to witness effectively in the public square. This included supporting membership and guild development, creating educational programs, developing position statements on healthcare ethics and public policy, and serving as spokesman to the media. Dr. Brehany serves as a consultant to two committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and has worked on national partnerships addressing conscience rights, healthcare reform, and respect for human life. Before joining the Catholic Medical Association, Dr. Brehany served as Executive Director of Mission Services and Ethics for Mercy Medical Center, Sioux City, Iowa from 2000-2006, where he was responsible for mission integration, ethics consultation and education, pastoral care, and the community benefit ministry program. Prior to that, Dr. Brehany taught courses in systematic and moral theology at Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, from 1991-1997. He has lectured at a number of other institutions of higher learning, including Saint Louis University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, the College of Pharmacy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. In addition, Dr. Brehany has given multiple presentations at conferences, secular ethics workshops, and Catholic universities (serving as a keynote speaker in Benedictine College’s John Paul the Great Distinguished Speaker Series, 2012; giving Franciscan University of Steubenville’s 2008 Gemelli Lecture) and has been frequently interviewed on a wide range of ethics and public policy topics by secular and religious print, radio, and television media, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Dallas Morning News, the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Newsweek-The Daily Beast, EWTN’s The World Over, and the Christian Broadcasting Network. Dr. Brehany received a Ph.D. in Health Care Ethics from Saint Louis University, a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C., and a M.A. in Philosophy from University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas. While earning his B.A. at the University of San Francisco, Dr. Brehany studied for a year at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

John A. Di Camillo, Be.L., Staff Ethicist

Mr. Di Camillo graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in the Biological Basis of Behavior and Italian Studies, receiving distinctions for most outstanding academic performance in both fields. He was recognized for his honors thesis in Italian Studies with the President’s Award for Undergraduate Research. He received his Bioethics Licentiate degree from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome and is a doctoral candidate at the same institution, whose School of Bioethics is the first (2001) to offer a comprehensive and exclusive bioethics curriculum. He holds a Certification with Distinction in Health Care Ethics from The National Catholic Bioethics Center and a Certification in Healthcare Interpretation from the Health Federation of Philadelphia.

Prior to joining The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Mr. Di Camillo worked as a self-employed translator and interpreter for clients including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; the Catholic Medical Association; The National Catholic Bioethics Center; the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum; the Science, Theology, and the Ontological Quest (STOQ) Program in Rome; Avante Language Services, Inc. (a Philadelphia-based healthcare interpreting company); and various private individuals. His written translation work includes various articles, essays, and books on subjects including Sacred Scripture, St. John Vianney, St. Catherine of Siena, the Church Fathers, St. Paul, informed consent, artificial nutrition and hydration, environmental theology, models of bioethics, bioethics in general, and more. Mr. Di Camillo worked as a simultaneous interpreter, from 2007-2010, for all lectures for core requirement classes in the intensive format of the Bioethics Licentiate program and for the annual International Bioethics Summer Courses at Regina Apostolorum.

His largest project is the co-translation an English edition of the Manuale di bioetica (Manual of bioethics), authored by Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, founder of the Bioethics Center at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Sacred Heart Catholic University) in Rome, which is a systematic presentation of ontologically grounded personalism: an integration of personalism into Artistotelian-Thomistic metaphysics and natural law theory. It is a landmark work in Italy, a rational presentation supporting Catholic teachings on virtually all major bioethical issues, and the foundation of the curriculum of the School of Bioethics at Regina Apostolorum. It is currently pending final revisions and publication through The National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Most recently, Mr. Di Camillo co-authored “Risks for Living Kidney Donors: A Comparison with Volunteer Participation in Clinical Research Trials,” in Organ Transplantation: Ethical, Legal, and Psychological Aspects: Expanding the European Platform, edited by W. Weimar, M.A. Bos, and J. J. Bausschbach (Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers, 2011).

Edward J. Furton, Ph.D., Director of Publications

Dr. Furton serves in an active dual role at the NCBC as one of the Center’s four ethicists and also as Director of Publications. He is Editor-in-Chief of The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Editor of Ethics & Medics, a monthly bulletin on moral issues in the health and life sciences, and edits books published by the Center, most recently, the proceedings from the Twenty-first Workshop for Bishops entitled Urged On By Christ: Catholic Health Care in Tension with Contemporary Culture. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and has taught at St. Charles Borromeo Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, LaSalle University in Philadelphia, and Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri. He has been a member of the National Catholic Bioethics Center staff since 1997. Dr. Furton subscribes to the natural law theory of ethics, and has written and spoken on many topics in bioethics, including stem cell research, vaccine use, brain death, organ donation, and physician-assisted suicide. He is also interested in the role of religion in American public life and the philosophy of the American Founders. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and five children.

Marie Hilliard, J.C.L., Ph.D., R.N., Director of Bioethics and Public Policy

Dr. Hilliard holds graduate degrees in Maternal-Child Health Nursing, Religious Studies, Canon Law and Professional Higher Education Administration (former tenured Division Chair in Catholic Higher Education). She has an extensive professional background in medical ethics and public policy and advocacy (former Director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference). She is a registered nurse who has been substantially involved in health care regulation at the state and national levels for twelve years (former Executive Officer, Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing; Area IV Director, The National Council of State Boards of Nursing). In addition, she is a canon lawyer and serves as a resource for the United States Bishops on the implementation of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Servicesas well as Church - State relations. Dr. Hilliard has published extensively and was awarded 2nd place by the Catholic Press Association for “Best Essay” in a Scholarly Magazine (2008).

The Connecticut League for Nursing has recognized Dr. Hilliard for her outstanding contributions to nursing in Connecticut, and she has been recognized as well by the Connecticut Nurses' Association with the Agnes Ohlson Award for Outstanding Contribution to Nursing through Political Action. She has served as a board member of a number of health care oriented agencies and coalitions, and continues to serve as a member of the board of directors of a Catholic seminary. She has served for two terms as an elected president of both the Connecticut League for Nursing and on the Statewide Steering Committee of the Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care. She is the former chair of the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and serves on the Review Board for the Protection of Minors of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. She chairs the Ethics Committee of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability, of which she is a member of the Board of Directors.

Dr. Hilliard is a Colonel (Ret.) in the United States Army Reserve, where she served as a registered nurse for over 20 years. She served as the Acting Deputy Brigade Commander of the 5th Brigade, 98th Training Division, responsible for all United States Army Reserve medical training for the northeastern United States. She developed the northeastern U.S. Licensed Practical Nurse training program which was conducted out of Ft. Devens, Massachusetts and approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing. She has been recognized by the Army for her contributions with the Meritorious Service Medal.

Dr. Hilliard has served as an advisor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on their Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians. She has been a guest at the White House at the invitation of President Clinton and has consulted with President Bush on faith and community based initiatives.

Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., Director of Education

Fr. Tad is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. As an undergraduate he earned degrees in philosophy, biochemistry, molecular cell biology, and chemistry, and did laboratory research on hormonal regulation of the immune response. He later earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University, where he focused on cloning genes for neurotransmitter transporters which are expressed in the brain. He also worked for several years as a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Fr. Tad studied for 5 years in Rome where he did advanced work in dogmatic theology and in bioethics, examining the question of delayed ensoulment of the human embryo. He has testified before members of the Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia and North Carolina State Legislatures during deliberations over stem cell research and cloning. He has given presentations and participated in roundtables on contemporary bioethics throughout the U.S., Canada, and in Europe. He has done numerous media commentaries, including appearances on CNN International, ABC World News Tonight, and National Public Radio. He is Director of Education for The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia and directs the Center’s National Catholic Certification Program in Health Care Ethics.

Fr. Tad has presented on the science and ethics of stem cells and cloning numerous times across the country and abroad. Some of the institutions to which he has been invited to speak are:

UCSF, San Francisco, CA; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Boston College, Boston, MA; University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA; Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA; University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA; Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL; Jordan Hospital, Plymouth, MA; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX; Cambridge Health Alliance Hospital, Cambridge, MA; Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI; University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN; St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Boston, MA; Salve Regina University, Newport, RI; University of Dallas, Dallas, TX; Southern New England School of Law, Dartmouth, MA; Marymount University, Arlington, VA; University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX; Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA; Stonehill College, Easton, MA; Boston University, Boston, MA.