New direction for Pontifical Academy for Life

Pope Francis has appointed 45 new members, one of whom has suggested that abortion should be legal during the first 18 weeks of pregnancy

Nigel Biggar (image from LifeSiteNews)

Pope Francis has appointed 45 new members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, having eliminated all of the Academy’s members earlier this year.

Pope Francis has revised the statutes of the Pontifical Academy for Life and encouraged a new approach that gives less direct attention to the “culture of life” issues that has previously been the focus of the Academy. Because there had been no expiration date for the terms of members, the Pontiff chose to end all memberships and re-appoint some members to a new roster.

The most outspoken members of the Pontifical Academy were missing from the list of appointments announced by the Vatican on June 13. At least one new member—Nigel Biggar, an Oxford theologian—has suggested that abortion should be legal during the first 18 weeks of pregnancy.

Pope Francis also appointed five prominent officials of the old Pontifical Academy—including Cardinal Elio Sgreccia and Dr. Juan de Dios Vial Correa, former presidents of the body—to be “honorary members.”

The Pontifical Academy for Life had been forced to postpone its annual assembly earlier this year because of the lack of members. The assembly will now be held in October. The topic for the meeting has also been changed: from a discussion of Donum Vitae, the Vatican’s statement on artificial reproduction, to a broader forum on “new responsibilities in the technological era.”

Full story at Catholic Culture.

“It’s not clear that a human foetus is the same kind of thing as an adult”

University of Oxford Professor Nigel Biggar, who was appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life for a five-year term, stated in a 2011 dialogue with pro-infanticide ethicist Peter Singer that a preborn baby is “not…the same kind of thing as an adult or a mature human being” and therefore does not deserve “quite the same treatment.”

“I would be inclined to draw the line for abortion at 18 weeks after conception, which is roughly about the earliest time when there is some evidence of brain activity, and therefore of consciousness,” he said as reported by Standpoint magazine.

Then, one year later, when he was the keynote speaker for an event at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, he said that “it is not true that all abortion is equivalent to murder.”

When LifeSiteNews asked Biggar if his appointment to the Academy indicated that the Church under Francis is shifting gears on abortion, he said that as someone who is not Roman Catholic, he did not think it appropriate to comment on the Church’s position.

“I am very sorry to disappoint you, but the issue of abortion is one on which I have views, but it is not one that I have thought about for a very long time,” he said.

Pope Francis began his overhaul of the Academy last year by creating new statutes, that among other things, no longer required that members sign a declaration to uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. The Pope’s next move was to then remove all of the academy members while promising to make new appointments himself.

Full story at LifeSiteNews.

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  1. Steve Seitz says:

    I was shocked by the article until I read the full article on Lifesitenews. Mr. Biggar was apparently chosen because of his work with euthanasia which is consistent with the Church’s teaching. If this is true, he may have some knowledge or skill that will help to shore things up. In this regard, regretfully, the Church has been ineffective in putting forth a vigorous defense.

  2. Linda Maria says:

    How many millions of unborn babies will now be in danger of MURDER, by abortion, due to the un-Christian actions, of our Holy Father?? WHY in God’s Name would this Anglican minister — a man of God– sanction taking a poor little baby’s life, if the mother wishes?? WHY???? When this minister was conceived— was he of NO VALUE– until he was 18 weeks old, in the womb?? And what if he was to be born crippled, mentally retarded, or with a terrible disability, or illness?? Worthless, then?? Only GOD can make a life! And only GOD can take a life!!!!! All life must be protected, from CONCEPTION to NATURAL DEATH!!!

  3. Linda Maria says:

    A Pope who refuses to clearly teach and practice the Catholic Faith, which is his primary responsibility to God — a Pope who clearly has doubts about the Catholic Faith, expressed publicly– a Pope who clearly has doubts about upholding Catholic Sacramental Marriage, and who refuses to uphold the Church’s teachings on the sacredness of life for the unborn child– is this man unfit to be our Pope??? What does God have to say???

  4. It’s one thing to Play the devil’s advocate; quite another to actually Be the devil’s advocate.

  5. Linda Maria says:

    Can you imagine the Pope sanctioning abortions– “up to 18 weeks”– at all the medical clinics nearby, in Rome???? Telling the pregnant, unwed girls and their boyfriends, “oh, don’t worry, its not a sin, it’s not murder! You can trust my Pontifical Academy for Life!! They have the Truth, the Catholic Truth!!” HYPOCRITE!!!

    • Linda Maria says:

      We never used to have a Pontifical Academy for Life– and before Vatican II, all the world’s Catholic prelates and priests, vigorously taught the Catholic Faith, worldwide- and the Pope stood as a strong, manly bulwark of Moral Authority, to the world– for which he was highly respected!! Mortal sin?? You better watch your step!! Here comes the local Cardinal or bishop, to have a big talk, on local problems with sin and crime, to their local city’s leaders. He commands respect!! Maybe it is best to dissolve the FRAUDULENT Pontifical Academy– since its members now don’t have to believe in, or take the oath, to uphold Catholic pro-life teaching, anyway!!

  6. Gee Pope Francis, is it really too much to ask that members of the Pontifical Academy for Life actually be Pro-Life?? Watch as this group tries to incorporate Biggar’s deadly ideas in the name of inclusiveness.

    The Pope has made a mistake and we can expect bad things to flow from it.

  7. In 1946 General Juan Domingo Perón dismissed all professors of of Argentina and replaced then with Peronistas. It was a disaster and Bernardo Houssay and Luis Federico Leloir had to create private institutes from which they were later awarded Nobel Prizes for Medicine and Chemistry. It was a national disaster for Argentina. In 1973 Peronist Presidente Cámpora did the same thing. He gave universities to Marxist Montonero Guerrillas which proceeded to fire everyone and the reappointed only a few, with the rest let go into exile. Shortly after Cámpora called back monster Perón and ceded the presidency to him. Perón dies and his showgirl wife Isabelita came into power and Argentina is still mired in the swamp of corruption and Marxism.

    Pope…

  8. Clinton R. says:

    Did George Soros select these members? The globalist (demonic) agenda continues
    at the Vatican.

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