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Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia

ROME, July 27, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The archbishop tasked with leading the Vatican’s pro-life academy says the Pope’s controversial teaching document on marriage opens Holy Communion to those in public grave sin.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia says Amoris Laetitia calls for “integration” of those in “irregular situations,” including “sacramental integration.”

The archbishop, who serves as Grand Chancellor of the St. John Paul II Pontifical Institute for the Study of Marriage and Family, famously commissioned a homoerotic painting containing his likeness for his former cathedral.

Asked in a recent email interview with the Diocese of Charleston newspaper The Catholic Miscellany to describe what Pope Francis’s frequently used concept of “accompaniment” should entail, Paglia cited one of Amoris Laetitia’s controversial passages in paragraph 297 of the document, which states that according to the Gospel “No one can be condemned for ever.”

The archbishop said accompaniment will vary in each situation, cannot be closed off from the community, and that “the pope urges priests to be priests, to accompany, and not to be judges from whom there is no appeal.”

“Amoris Laetitia provides some guidelines,” Archbishop Paglia stated. “Those who live in irregular situations, if they accept being accompanied in a shared faith journey in the Christian community (especially if the process is promoted and guided by the bishop), will be able to encounter various and gradual forms of integration, not excluding sacramental integration.”

“Accompaniment leads to overcoming unfair forms of exclusion and to appreciating the human, moral and ecclesial condition of others,” he said as well.

The term “accompaniment” has been a regular buzzword since the two controversial Synods on the Family in 2014 and 2015 signaling a sort of ecclesial escorting of Catholics in irregular unions back into the sacramental life of the Church. Very often in its use the crucial element of repentance and turning away from sin is excluded.  

“Irregular unions” refers to homosexual or cohabiting unions, as well as those who are divorced and civilly remarried, though its use in these discussions has typically meant the latter.

Amoris Laetitia remains extremely controversial one year after its release, as its ambiguities have opened the door to Communion for the divorced and remarried, allowing varying bishops’ conferences worldwide to implement the document in divergent ways, and the pope persists in silence in response to requests for clarification.

Archbishop Paglia was appointed by Pope Francis last year as President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

The appointments have been a part of indicating an apparent overhaul of the two institutions in favor of a departure from fidelity to Catholic teaching on life.

Archbishop Paglia dismissed concerns in a recent interview over Pope Francis’ controversial changes to the pontifical academy and theological institute he leads.

The pope had cleared previous Academy members out and replaced them, in several instances with individuals that support abortion, euthanasia and other things in conflict with Church teaching.  Members are no longer required to sign a declaration of fidelity to the Church’s pro-life teachings.

Asked whether the changes made by the pope signified a reluctance to fight for Christian values, the archbishop stated, “My view is the exact opposite. I am so certain of the power of Christian values that I don’t feel a need to defend them, they defend themselves.” 

The archbishop has defended controversial pro-abortion picks for Pontifical Academy of for Life appointees.

A book containing arguments for admitting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to the sacraments was published under Archbishop Paglia’s purview in 2015 while he head of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

The archbishop himself has not been without controversy.

The Pontifical Council for the Family promulgated a controversial sex-ed program for youth in 2016 under his direction that used sexually explicit and suggestive images and departed from the Church's magisterium’s perennial teaching on sex education in a number of ways.

The program left parents out of the education process and failed to condemn harmful sexual behaviors that violate Church teaching, among many other problematic elements.

Reports surfaced this past March that Archbishop Paglia had commissioned a homosexual artist back in 2007 when he was a diocesan bishop to paint a blasphemous homoerotic mural in his cathedral church.

The giant mural covering the opposite side of the facade of the Diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia’s cathedral church portrays Jesus carrying nets to heaven filled with naked and semi-nude homosexuals, transsexuals, prostitutes, and drug dealers, intermingling in erotic exchanges. The image of the archbishop himself is depicted among those in the nets.

Archbishop Paglia has defended the mural deemed by Catholic critics to be  “blasphemous” and “disgusting,” as well as “demonic,” saying it was part of a commitment to evangelizing.

Regarding his inclusion in the mass of nude bodies shown in the mural, he said, “I too am included in the mural as one who needs redemption no less than anyone else.”