Dr. James Delaney, professor of philosophy, published the chapter "Is Presumed Consent a Morally Permissible Policy for Organ Donation?" in the Springer book Contemporary Controversies in Catholic Bioethics.
Here is the abstract:
"The Catholic position on organ donation rests on several important points. Among them are: (1) the act of donating a life-saving organ is an act of love that is to be praised, (2) organ donation is an act of giving, and (3) to be licit, an organ donation must be made with the full informed consent of the donor. In any system of organ procurement that takes consent seriously, there will inevitably be people whose wishes about organ donation are not known after they die. In such cases we must have a default position. We must either presume non-consent and not take the organs, or presume consent and take the organs. I make a case that a system of presumed consent could be morally permissible within the framework of the Catholic principles stated above. After outlining the Catholic view, I move to a discussion of informed consent and its relationship to autonomy. I explore how different models of autonomy provide different answers to the question of how we should proceed in cases of organ procurement when a person’s wishes are unknown. Finally, I examine the role of personal autonomy in the context of Catholic moral teaching. While autonomy does not have absolute value, it nevertheless plays an important role in human flourishing. Further, even in this limited role, respect for autonomy can ground a good argument that a system of presumed consent would not be wrong in principle from a Catholic perspective."