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Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for LifeVatican News

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VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — The Pontifical Academy for Life has defended its recent book promoting contraception, writing on Twitter that theology requires “progress” as part of a natural process. 

RELATED: Pontifical Academy for Life’s new book deviates from Church teaching on contraception, artificial insemination

The Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) recently published a book, Theological Ethics of Life. Scripture, Tradition, Practical Challenges, which is a collection of essays taken from a three-day interdisciplinary seminar sponsored by the PAV. LifeSiteNews reported on the text, noting how the book advocates for contraception and artificial insemination as if the topics are open topics for discussion, instead of having already been condemned by the Church. 

After LifeSite’s article was shared on Twitter, the PAV responded to the criticism which users of the social media site were making of the book, writing that there was “No deviation [from Church’s teaching] but debate and dialogue, as the Church always suggests – ‘quaestiones disputatae’ method!”

The PAV faced further criticism, however, with user Gary Paul Hermit writing that “to suggest that settled matters are up for ‘debate and dialogue’ IS deviation.” He urged the PAV to “condemn dissent,” saying that “the only dialogue” which the Church should have with a racist individual “would be to correct his error and invite conversation.”

In response the PAV wrote: “Be careful: what is dissent today, can change.”

“It is not relativism, it is the dynamics of the understanding of phenomena and science: the Sun does not rotate around the Earth,” continued the Academy. “Otherwise there would be no progress and everything would stand still. Even in theology. Think about it.”

The PAV’s message was swiftly ridiculed as a “word salad” online, with a senior editor for the National Catholic Register Jonathan Liedl writing: “A Vatican organ lazily comparing Humane Vitae to geocentricism in order to undermine decades of post-conciliar teaching on sexual ethics.”

Leila Marie Lawler, author of The Summa Domestica: Order and Wonder in Family Life, described the PAV’s response as a “mishmash.” 

The PAV is no stranger to controversy regarding the Catholic Church’s moral teaching. Its president, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, issued a call in 2019 for the PAV to “widen its scope of reflection” and said that Pope Francis warned the PAV “that it is risky to look at human life in a way that detaches it from experience and reduces it to biology or to an abstract universal, separated from relationships and history.” 

READ: Two Pontifical Academy for Life members rebuked for publicly supporting assisted suicide

Paglia suggested “the term ‘life’ must be redefined, moving from an abstract conception to a ‘personal’ dimension.”

The PAV has been described as being permeated by “heretical gnosticism” after it was overhauled by Pope Francis beginning in 2016. The Pope released new statutes for the PAV in November 2016, in which members were no longer required to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings, while also expanding the PAV’s mandate to include a focus on the environment.

Since the onset of the COVID-era the PAV has promoted the abortion-tainted injections, with Paglia praising their supposed efficacy and safety. Paglia has also attacked Catholics who hold moral objections to the injections, refusing to listen to concerns about deaths following the COVID jabs, and has ordered Catholics to “listen to what the Church has already said” in promoting the shots.


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