The Vatican is under fire from pro-life organizations for not one but two appointments to its pro-life Academy who are noted abortion activists.
Lifenews.com has already reported on Pope Francis’s decision to name Nigel Biggar, a philosopher who supports abortion, to the Pontifical Academy for Life. Biggar was one of 45 ordinary members appointed to the pro-life academy this month, according to a Vatican announcement. Also concerning is Kathleen Foley, MD, who headed the Open Society Institute’s Project on Death in America.
The Pontifical Academy for Life promotes protections for human life at all stages and supports research on moral and bioethical issues. It is influential world-wide in promoting Catholic teachings on abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and other issues involving life and family.
American Life League president Judie Brown issued a statement to LifeNews.com in response to reports of anti-life appointments by the Vatican to the reconstituted Pontifical Academy for Life.
Brown states: “We had hoped the Pontifical Academy for Life would continue voicing the truth as taught by so many saints and doctors of the Church. Yet today it seems to have lost its way. Pope Francis has created a revised version of the sainted Pope John Paul II’s vision that is not only scary, but also in many ways ugly to behold.”
Brown calls for Catholics to pray as well as write to Pope Francis to “lovingly express your concern about the Pontifical Academy for Life and remind him that he is in your prayers.”
Brown continues: “Remember that draining the swamp is a spiritual battle. When we think about draining the swamp, we must include prayer as well as awareness of the truth and what it means. Pray for the new members of the Academy, that God may work His miracles in their lives. Fast and pray for our Holy Father; he needs our prayers and sacrifices now more than ever. And pray for clarity and unity within the pro-life movement.”
She told LifeNews: “It is clear that even though the newly revised Pontifical Academy for Life has members who are not in line with Catholic teaching when it comes to the moral law, we know that we are. The future of the pro-life movement is where it has always been—in the hands of people who are dedicated to building a culture of life, no matter the cost to themselves or their families. New appointments and Vatican announcements will never change our vision of a world that honors and respects the dignity of every single human being—from the very first moment of creation until death.”
Biggar, a professor of theology at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, has made past statements in support of abortion and possibly even limited euthanasia, The National Catholic Register reports.
During a conversation with pro-abortion, pro-infanticide Professor Peter Singer, Biggar once said he thinks abortions should be legal up to 18 weeks after an unborn baby’s conception, The Catholic Herald reports.
“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,” Biggar said in 2011.
He continued: “It’s not clear that a human foetus is the same kind of thing as an adult or a mature human being, and therefore deserves quite the same treatment. It then becomes a question of where we draw the line, and there is no absolutely cogent reason for drawing it in one place over another.”
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Biggar’s appointment more than likely will resurrect questions about the pope’s commitment to protecting life, especially unborn babies. When Pope Francis first was elected, many mainstream media outlets speculated that he may soften the church’s stance on abortion.
However, Pope Francis consistently has opposed abortion and urged society to protect human lives, both born an unborn.
The pontiff has clearly stated that the Catholic Church will not compromise its pro-life position. In 2013, the Vatican released the text of Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), an Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis that specifically addresses pro-life and pro-family issues. The text of the message makes it clear that the Catholic Church cannot and will not compromise on its pro-life teachings on abortion.
Other actions also have pointed to the pope’s strong position on the life issues. A few weeks after he was elected, he stunned the world when he made a personal phone call to a woman who was pregnant out of wedlock and encouraged her to reject abortion and see her child as “a gift from God.”
Before speaking to the United States Congress in 2015, Pope Francis also said his primary reason for visiting the U.S. was to speak up for human life.
“I appreciate the unfailing commitment of the Church in America to the cause of life and that of the family, which is the primary reason for my present visit,” he told U.S. Catholic bishops.