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Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, tasked by Pope Francis to create a sex-ed program for teens.

ROME, Italy, July 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — In a recent interview with Avvenire, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia defended abortion-supporter Nigel Biggar’s appointment to the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Blaming “media misinterpretations,” Paglia said there is “practically nothing” accurate in allegations that Biggar is “in favor of abortion.”

“Canon Biggar is not only opposed to abortion but has also confirmed to me that he will fight against this kind of negative culture in accordance with Catholic doctrine dealing with the end of earthly life,” Paglia insisted.

The newly appointed head of the Pontifical Academy for Life also assigned blame to those who lack the intellectual capacity to understand “the complex language” of the “2011 internet-published colloquy with the Australian philosopher Peter Singer” that is “being used as the basis for the [misleading] discussions.”

Paglia said this despite the fact that the University of Oxford professor stated rather unequivocally in that 2011 dialogue with pro-infanticide ethicist Peter Singer that a preborn baby is “not … the same kind of thing as an adult or a mature human being” and therefore does not deserve “quite the same treatment.”

At that time, Biggar said, “I would be inclined to draw the line for abortion at 18 weeks after conception, which is roughly about the earliest time when there is some evidence of brain activity, and therefore of consciousness,” as reported by Standpoint Magazine.

Archbishop Paglia also overlooked Biggar’s statement one year later when he was the keynote speaker for an event at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. “It is not true that all abortion is equivalent to murder,” Biggar said.

Paglia had previously accused Catholic media of “sensationalism” for highlighting the pro-abortion “ethicist.’

‘Heartbreaking:’ Pontifical academy no longer a bastion of orthodoxy

Pope Francis began his overhaul of the Academy last year by creating new statutes. Among other things, he no longer required that members sign a declaration to uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. The Pope’s next move was to then remove all of the academy members while promising to make new appointments himself.

Former academy member Judie Brown wrote in an article earlier this year that she was shocked by what she called Francis’ move to “deconstruct” the Academy that was once considered a bastion of orthodoxy.

“The Pontifical Academy for Life is undergoing an overhaul by Pope Francis and his political operatives within the Vatican’s hierarchy, and it is one of the most heartbreaking events I have seen in my lifetime. But given the politics of the Vatican, it is not surprising,” she wrote at that time.


Christopher Ferrara, author and head of the American Catholic Lawyers’ Association, said an appointment of a pro-abortion member to the Vatican’s highest pro-life institution means that Pope Francis, “as incredible as it may seem, is programmatically committed to accommodating … the toleration of abortion in the life of the Church.”

Pope Francis has “demolished John Paul II’s Pontifical Academy for Life by sacking every one of its members and having its new president, the ‘pro-gay’ Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, draw up new statutes for the Academy,” he wrote. “Bear in mind that Pope [Francis] has abolished the pro-life oath formerly taken by members of the Academy.”

Paglia called Catholics “foolish” for thinking Biggar’s appointment signaled that the Academy was no longer fully committed to defending life at every stage, according to an interview with Vatican Insider.

Gutting and reorienting John Paul II’s Pontifical Academy for Life  

In his clearing out and restacking of the Vatican’s highest pro-life institution, Pope Francis has not invited many former members specifically chosen by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI for their pro-life-and-family credentials as well as their fidelity to Catholic teaching. Many of those not invited back had previously been openly critical of the direction the Academy was being pushed in recent years.

At the same time, however, Pope Francis appointed a pro-abortion theologian who has expressed support for euthanasia in certain circumstances.

Former Academy member Christine De Marcellus Vollmer, who was not given another term, told LifeSiteNews that the new appointments reveal a “great lack” of understanding in Catholic leadership regarding the current attacks facing human life.

“I don't see any of the important people who are knowledgeable and fighting pornography,” she said. “They don't seem to understand the realities of the threats to life.”