Thursday July 29, 2010

Spain Abortion Law “Senseless” Says New Head of Pontifical Academy for Life

By Hilary White

ROME, July 29, 2010 ( – In his second interview this month, Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, the recently appointed president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, criticized Spain’s Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, for pushing through the country’s new abortion legislation.

Msgr. Carrasco, who was a physician before his priestly career, told the Milan-based Catholic paper Il Consulente RE that the legislation is “senseless,” a word that in the original Italian connotes stupidity.

Carrasco praised those who have resisted the “ideological and economic” lobbies pushing for abortion and euthanasia around the world, especially in Latin America. He held up the example of Daniel Ortega, the former communist Sandinista rebel turned Catholic defender of the unborn in Nicaragua, saying, “You can always try to resist.”

“See what is happening in Nicaragua, whose president, former Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, resisted bravely, so that the country is in force today as anti-abortion law of Latin America.”

He contrasted this with the law just put in place by Spain’s president Zapatero, that Carrasco called “senseless, absolutely senseless.” This, he said, “corresponds to the mentality of Zapatero.”

Spain’s new law, Carrasco said, has presented abortion entirely in terms of “rights,” but Zapatero is “unable to understand what is a right.”

“The new law, I repeat, is an expression of inability to understand what is a right. The problem is serious, not only in Spain.”

Carrasco, born in 1937 in Barcelona, is a member of the conservative religious organisation Opus Dei, and served as the first rector (1984-1994) of the modern University of the Holy Cross, then as director of the Institute of Bioethics at the University of the Sacred Heart and chancellor of the Academy of Life.

He told Il Consulente RE, “It seems that the perception of the value of life today is very diluted; life and death mingle almost like a video game.”

However, he related one hopeful story of graduate nursing courses he taught at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart. He conducted “a little test” involving a boy in a wheelchair with serious disabilities. He asked the student nurses at the beginning of the year what they thought of the boy’s future. With the exception of one religious student, all concluded that the boy’s life was not worth continuing.

But at the end of a year of dealing with suffering patients, he said, the attitude of the students had “changed radically.”

The students, he said, “had known suffering directly and were freed from the cloak of conformity, and ignorance of the facts that the culture and mass media – in turn influenced by the laws of profit – had imposed upon them.”

Carrasco said that the work of the Pontifical Academy for Life over the next few years would focus on the nature of post-abortion syndrome and on the use and availability of umbilical cord blood banks, an issue that was raised at a recent PAV-sponsored conference on adult stem cells.