New JP II Life Academy pres criticizes Vatican archbishop for attacking political defense of life in US
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VATICAN CITY, Rome, September 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The archbishop who heads the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life suggested that the political defense of life in America, currently being championed by President Trump, can be a cause of “great harm.”
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia made his remarks in an interview with Crux and in reference to the upcoming presidential election in the United States, where the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are both Planned Parenthood-endorsed abortion extremists.
Despite this, Paglia “cautioned against turning the pro-life cause into an ideological weapon,” wrote Crux Vatican correspondent Elise Ann Allen.
Paglia said issues of ethics and morality are not just of concern to the United States but are “global issues,” and called for an engagement on life issues from “a perspective of global bioethics, one that engages all the major topics that touch on life, of the individual and of the human family,” reported Allen.
“It would do great harm if some topic of bioethics is extracted from its general context and put toward ideological strategies,” said Paglia. “It would do great harm.”
But Dr. Thomas Ward, president of the new John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family (JAHLF), decried Paglia’s “startling” remarks as an unwarranted “intrusion” by a Vatican official into American politics but more crucially, an evasion of Paglia’s “moral responsibility.”
“As bishop in charge of the Pontifical Academy for Life he has evaded his moral responsibility to denounce the extremist, anti-life position of the self-professed ‘Catholic’ Biden,” Ward told LifeSiteNews.
Paglia “appears to refer to abortion as ‘some topic of bioethics’,” added Ward. “Far from being ‘some topic of bioethics,’ with regard to the United States, we are talking about 62 million babies who have been eviserated and decapitated by abortion.”
Moreover, the Italian archbishop “says ‘some topic of bioethics’ would do great harm. I ask, harm to whom? Surely, only to the anti-abortion party,” Ward pointed out.
“For the Pope’s representative to caution against today’s political defense of life in America can only serve to weaken the resolve of less committed Catholics to vote for the pro-life party.”
A family doctor, Ward is president of the U.K.’s National Association of Catholic Families as well as head of the JAHLF, a lay-led group of Catholic academics which formed in October 2017 after Pope Francis re-constituted the original Pontifical Academy for Life and brought in abortion supporters and a new mandate that included immigration and the environment.
A year before, the Holy Father appointed Paglia as head of the Academy for Life and chancellor of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.
At the time, Paglia was head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which came under fire a month before he left for promulgating a youth sex-ed program that includes explicit sexual imagery, and leaves aside the Church’s teaching on sin.
Paglia also is known for supporting allowing Holy Communion for those living unrepentantly in objectively sinful situations, inviting same-sex couples to the World Meeting of Families in 2015, and paying a homosexual artist to paint a homoerotic mural in his cathedral church in 2007 which includes an image of the archbishop himself.
More recently, Paglia sparked controversy by retweeting a post from the Vatican’s John Paul II Institute to promote a film about marriage that included an image of a naked man and woman lying on the ground surrounded by unclothed children.
In keeping with the Vatican Academy for Life’s apparently new priorities, Paglia told Crux’s Allen that “today we are all called to discover a new alliance that goes beyond politics” that he described as one in which “all believers and all men and women of goodwill commit to saving all the lives of all the peoples who live in this one common home.”
“This is why I believe that to instrumentalize some topic for political ends or for laziness [in one’s own] horizon” is harmful, he said, according to Crux.
He hopes that Christianity globally “finds in men and of goodwill an alliance so that the lives of all, particularly the weakest, are defended from the beginning to the end, from the mother’s womb until the moment of death,” Paglia said.
“For the head of the Pope's Academy to say that it is harmful to instrumentalize ‘some topic’ for political ends as being harmful will have the effect of disarming those who defend unborn babies thus weakening the pro-life vote and risking increasing the slaughter,” countered Ward.
More significantly, “the issue of abortion is predominant in Trump’s policies and therefore to attack the instrumentalization is to attack Trump's pro-life policy.”
Paglia stated that because human life is a gift, “the human person is never a means but always an end. Period,” and the Catholic Church insists on respect for human life because human beings are at the center of God’s creation.
“In this sense, everything that doesn’t respect the human person…is a sin against the Gospel of life,” he said.
“This appears to be a gross development of the ‘seamless garment theory’ whereby abortion was initially made equivalent to nuclear war and capital punishment but now seems to be equivalent to any disrespect to a human being,” said Ward.
“This is a gross dilution of the gravity of abortion.”
That was echoed by Dr. Jeff Mirus, a co-founder of Christendom College.
Political action to end the “stupendous” wrong of abortion is “rooted in the natural law; it is the very opposite of ideology,” wrote Mirus in Catholic Culture.
Paglia “essentially resorts to the ‘seamless garment’ tactic, which takes the truth that all problems adversely affecting the human person are issues of ‘human life’, and then emphasizes that very marginal insight to the point where it becomes immoral to prioritize these issues,” observed Mirus.
“Thus is our moral energy dissipated, preventing us from producing any positive effect at all.”
“In contrast, let us consider these two realities: (a) Priority must clearly and emphatically be placed on the right to life itself, without which no other human good can be sought at all; and (b) Around the world in our lifetimes, politics has been used, through laws, court decisions and regulations, to attack the right to life,” observed Mirus.
“If this is so, how can any Catholic leader deliberately seek to dissipate the energy and commitment that all men and women of good will ought to apply precisely to politics, in order to redress such stupendous wrongs?” he added.
The Academy for Life also released a document on the coronavirus in July that Catholic Culture’s Phil Lawler described as and “embarrassment” to Catholics and which does not mention “God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church, the sacraments, prayer, or even charity; even the word ‘Christian’ does not appear in the text.”