Pope Benedict XVI Appoints New Director of Catholic Pro-Life Academy
by Steven Ertelt
June 17, 2008
The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a new director of the Pontifical Academy for Life, an organization within the Catholic Church that heads up pro-life apologetics. The Catholic leader appointed Bishop Salvatore Fisichella, the current Auxiliary of Rome, as the new president of the group.
Fisichella replaces former academy president Bishop Elio Sgreccia, who retired from the position after reaching the mandatory age of resignation.
Fisichella, who was also promoted to the rank of archbishop in the move, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rome in 1976. He became the Auxiliary of Rome in 1998 and was named Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in 2002.
The Catholic bishop is well known for his friendship and dialogue with non-Catholic intellectuals.
According to a Zenit report, Monsignor Ángel Rodríguez Luño, a member of the academy, told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano that bioethics and pro-life issues are now so important to the church that the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life will now become an archbishop.
He said the title reflects "the important service of this institution and the trust that the Pope places in it as an expression of the Church’s commitment to the promotion and defense of the life of every man, created in the image of God."
In February, the pope gave a speech to members of the pro-life academy urging doctors and other medical professionals to resist getting involved in euthanasia or assisted suicide.
He said the grisly practices fail to respect the dignity of people who are disabled, elderly or incurably ill.
The Catholic leader reaffirmed the Church’s strong teachings against assisted suicide and euthanasia saying Catholics should have a "firm and consistent ethical condemnation for all forms of direct euthanasia."
He said "all of society, through its medical and civil institutions, is called to respect life and the dignity of the gravely ill and dying person."