Monday April 26, 2010

Rumor: Fisichella to Take New Pontifical Council for Evangelization of the West

By Hilary White

ROME, April 26, 2010 ( – A rumor is flying in Rome that the controversial current head of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV), Archbishop Salvatore “Rino” Fisichella, will be rewarded with an appointment to a soon-to-be formed dicastery, The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.

Archbishop Fisichella has been the centre of a storm of controversy since he published an article in L’Osservatore Romano in March last year in which he appeared to condone the abortion of the twin children of a nine year-old rape victim.

Italian journalist and specialist on the Vatican, Andrea Tornielli, wrote in Italian daily Il Giornale this weekend that it will soon be announced that the pope will create a new department dedicated to re-evangelization of the West, which will be chaired by Archbishop Fisichella.

Pope Benedict, Tornielli said, is preparing an apostolic letter about the institution of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, dedicated to re-spreading the Catholic religion in countries where the Gospel has already been known for centuries, “but today where its effectiveness in people’s lives seems to have lost.”

John Allen, the American reporter on Vatican affairs for National Catholic Reporter, wrote that should it turn out to be true, the appointment would be a “vindication” for Fisichella, who has refused to recant or correct his article, despite strong protests from senior members of the PAV and pro-life advocates around the world.

Sources close to the Vatican have informed (LSN) that the rumor is likely to be true and that it would clearly be a promotion for Fisichella, possibly even resulting in his being made a cardinal. Fisichella is already known to have turned down the appointment to the see of Siena, a diocese that does not traditionally include a promotion to the College of Cardinals.

That possibility has already come under fire from Spanish journalist and commentator Francisco José Fernández de la Cigoña, who has been strongly critical of Fisichella’s role as head of the PAV. He wrote on his blog, “His tenure at the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life was a mockery.”

“It seems another case of ‘removal by promotion’. I myself, until he recognises that he made a mistake with the infamous article, which I think his pride will not allow, will continue to believe that he is a moderate abortion-promoter, only in exceptional cases. Which means he should not preside over anything in the Church.”

In his article, Fisichella attacked the then-archbishop of the girl’s diocese, Olinda and Recife, for having told the media that the planned abortion would result in the automatic excommunication of the girls’ mother and the doctors who arranged the abortion. Fisichela wrote, addressing the girl, that, “Other people deserve excommunication and our forgiveness: not those who have allowed you to live.”

Read LSN’s extensive coverage of the Fisichella scandal here.

Contact information:

Congregation for the Bishops

Giovanni Battista Re, Cardinal, Prefect

Francesco Monterisi, Secretary

Palazzo della Congregazioni,

00193 Roma,

Piazza Pio XII, 10



William Cardinal Levada

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy


E-mail: [email protected]

Pope Benedict XVI

[email protected]


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