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ROME, February 1, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The John Paul II Institute in Rome, recently gutted and remodeled by Pope Francis, has defended in a recent Facebook post U.S. President Joe Biden’s championing of legal abortion.

The John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences recently reposted on its Facebook page a Jan. 20 Huffington Post (Italian edition) article that emphasized what writer Maria Antonietta Calabrò called Biden’s “social Gospel” which, she claimed, gave a breath of fresh air to Catholic social teaching.

When the John Paul II Institute’s Facebook page began to receive significant criticism for posting an article that essentially praised the pro-abortion politician, the Institute responded by saying that “defending the right to abortion does not mean defending abortion.”


“Above all,” the Institute added, if we have to assign Catholicity licenses based on the political positions, very few politicians could describe themselves as Catholic.”

The Institute’s statement is at odds with Catholic teaching on abortion which holds that, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, abortion is a “moral evil” that is “gravely contrary to the moral law.” The Catechism adds that this teaching “has not changed and remains unchangeable.”

Saint John Paul II taught in his 1995 landmark encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) that Catholics can in no way defend a right to abortion.

“To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others,” he said.

The John Paul II Institute eventually removed the Facebook post.

A source within the Institute told Catholic News Agency that the problematic Facebook post was due to the Institute allowing the social media channel to be run by a communication’s director who has no background in Vatican or Catholic issues. The head of the Institute's press office is Arnaldo Casali.

“The real issue is that Casali has no knowledge so far of the nature of the Pontifical Theological Institute, nor does he know how its stances can have an impact on the Catholic world, and can also affect Catholic teaching,” the source said.

It is unknown at this point if the Institute will fire its communication’s director.

The original John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family was renamed and re-purposed by Pope Francis in 2017. Changes made included new statutes, the firing of key professors, and the elimination of courses that were strongly tied to the legacy of John Paul II. The new statutes gave the Grand Chancellor of the Institute, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the right to fire and hire faculty. The prominent Vatican archbishop is known for commissioning a homoerotic mural to be painted in his Cathedral. Last summer, Paglia defended posting to social media an image from a 2002 film Casomai which consisted of a naked man and woman lying on the ground surrounded by naked children.