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Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life.ROME REPORTS en Español / YouTube

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — LifeSiteNews has delivered a petition, signed by thousands of people, to the Vatican and to Pope Francis, asking for the removal of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia as head of the Pontifical Academy for Life in view of his latest scandalous comments on life.

Earlier this week, the voices of thousands of outraged pro-lifers and Catholics were represented at the Vatican when a petition was delivered calling for the resignation of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia. 

As the petition notes, Paglia, as prefect of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV), recently described assisted suicide as sometimes being the “greatest common good concretely possible,” contrary to the Catholic Church’s strenuous condemnation of the practice. His remarks came in April, during a recent television panel as part of the Perugia journalism festival.

While he expressed his personal opposition to practicing assisted suicide, Paglia defended it in principle, citing Pope Francis’ assault on Catholic Tradition in doing so. “Personally, I would not practice suicide assistance,” he said “but I understand that legal mediation may be the greatest common good concretely possible under the conditions we find ourselves in.”

READ: Abp. Paglia defends assisted suicide as ‘greatest common good possible’ for dying people

LifeSite’s petition notes that “this betrayal of the Catholic faith by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia is not for the first time, with the PAV repeatedly causing scandal under his watch by:

  • recently appointing a notorious pro-abortion atheist to the organization,
  • claiming contraception and artificial insemination are sometimes acceptable,
  • insisting that priests could accompany people through assisted-suicide, and
  • that Italy’s pro-abortion law is a ‘pillar’ of the country’s social life.”

READ: Pontifical Academy for Life tries to clarify Abp. Paglia’s troubling assisted suicide comments

The PAV swiftly tried to clarify the statement, but ended supporting its president. Referencing the Italian court ruling which Paglia had spoken about, the PAV stated it was in the context of this ruling that Paglia had made his comments.

“In this precise and specific context, Msgr. Paglia explained that in his opinion a ‘legal mediation’ (certainly not a moral one) in the direction indicated by the Sentence is possible, maintaining the crime and the conditions under which it is decriminalized, as the same Constitutional Court has asked Parliament to legislate.

LifeSite’s Louis Knuffke delivered the petition, and it will now be placed on the Pontiff’s desk in the coming days. The petition is presented in full below.

At the time of being delivered to Pope Francis, the petition had garnered over 6,500 signatures, in under six weeks.

“It’s vital that the Church and PAV push back against the culture of death, rather than trying to accommodate it and accept a world that where the vulnerable are helped to kill themselves,” states the LifePetition press release, regarding the move. “Be part of pushing back against the tide and making it clear that there is no room for confusion or betrayal when it comes to the sanctity of human life and the infallibility of Catholic teaching on the matter.”

Paglia’s comments have also given rise to an open letter from the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family, in which signatories called on the “remaining  pro-life members of the PAV” to petition the Pope to dismiss Paglia. He should be replaced by a president who, “with courage, unequivocally proclaims the perennial teachings of the Church and Saint John Paul both on life and on its legal protection,” read the letter. 

The full text of the petition is reproduced below:

Petition to Pope Francis,

We, the undersigned, request that you remove Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia from his position as President of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

His time at the organization has been repeatedly mired in scandal, not least with his most recent comments claiming that a “legal mediation is feasible that would allow assistance to suicide” under the conditions specified by Italy’s Constitutional Court.

“Personally, I would not practice suicide assistance,” Archbishop Paglia told an Italian journalism conference last week, “but I understand that legal mediation may be the greatest common good concretely possible under the conditions we find ourselves in.”

This archbishop’s acceptance of an immoral ruling that will facilitate vulnerable people in killing themselves is an abomination.

Abp. Paglia’s job is, or should be, to defend human life, but his willingness to facilitate a ruling that allows such horrific evil is a betrayal of his vocation and renders his position untenable.

Please act now in the best interests of the Church, the vulnerable, and Abp. Paglia’s soul by removing him from the academy and calling him to repentance.

Thank you.