Vatican enthusiastically endorses 40 Days For Life in surprise letter
ROME, Italy, September 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The Pontifical Academy for Life has glowingly praised the pro-life work of 40 Days For Life in what the group says was an "unsolicited" letter, telling the pro-life group that its “prayer, fasting, witness and outreach have saved more than 12,000 lives and have brought reconciliation and healing to so many suffering mothers, fathers and families.”
“I am honored to endorse your efforts and to assure you of our enthusiastic cooperation and assistance, particularly during your coming September 28-November 6 Campaign, in which so many Catholic dioceses and other religious communities and traditions will participate,” wrote Academy President Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia in a letter dated Sept. 20 to 40 Days For Life.
Archbishop Paglia was recently appointed by Pope Francis as President of the Holy See's Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the St. John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.
Prior to his appointments, Paglia ran the Pontifical Council for the Family, where he raised criticism from life and family leaders for releasing a controversial sex-ed program containing pornographic images. Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons urged that the archbishop be evaluated by a sex abuse review board for approving the program which, according to the psychiatrist, “constitutes sexual abuse of Catholic adolescents” and contains pornographic images “similar to those used by adult sexual predators of adolescents.”
The Archbishop also raised eyebrows from faithful Catholics for releasing a book and organizing a series of seminars leading up to the recent Synod on the Family that promoted the “Kasper proposal” for allowing civilly divorced and remarried Catholics who have committed adultery to receive Holy Communion.
In writing the letter of affirmation to an effective pro-life organization, Paglia might be following Pope Francis’ advice that he “deal with the new challenges concerning the value of life.”
“My great task in that new role is preach the Gospel of Life, helping our brothers and sisters to understand the beauty of life, to welcome new life with tenderness and hope, and to protect it with love where it is weak, whether at its beginning or as it draws to a close,” the Archbishop wrote in the letter.
40 Days for Life President Shawn Carney said the endorsement was “unsolicited.”
“[Receiving this] a few days before kicking off our largest initiative ever, this is a great reminder of just how united 40 Days for Life is,” he wrote in a press release.
The Archbishop said he hopes to work “fruitfully” with 40 Days For Life in the months to come.
“[A]nd together let us pray that the day will soon come when none of us will ever again see the beauty of a child's life cut short by abortion,” he wrote at the conclusion of his letter.
Next Tuesday, 40 Days For Life will be launching the UNITED campaign and bus tour from outside the U.S. Supreme Court, where abortion was first imposed on all 50 American states. The event will be live streamed from the group’s Facebook page here. Details of the campaign can be found here.
The UNITED campaign, hailed as the “largest nationwide pro-life mobilization in American history” aims to bring together record numbers of people across all 50 states to pray, fast, and publicly stand for life from Sept. 28 to Nov. 6.