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Calls for resignations at Pontifical Academy for Life

Catholic World News - May 08, 2012

For the 2nd time in recent months, members of the Pontifical Academy for Life are calling for the resignation of the academy’s top leaders.

Austrian theologian Josef Seifert, a member of the Pontifical Academy, has expressed his “profound shock” over the sponsorship of a February conference on infertility treatment, which heard presentations from scientists who dispute the Church’s teaching on assisted reproduction. Seifert said that for the Pontifical Academy for Life the conference was the “worst day in our history.”

Seifert told Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, the president of the Pontifical Academy, that he was not alone in his belief that February conference showed the need for new leadership.

More recently, the Pontifical Academy for Life had scheduled another conference in March to discuss embryonic stem-cell research. Again the schedule called for presentations by scientists who rejected Church teaching, and the proposed conference drew angry protests from some members of the academy. The conference was eventually cancelled, with officials of the Pontifical Academy saying that the cancellation was made necessary because of a failure to secure adequate funding. Critics of the office insisted that public protests were the real reason for the cancellation.

Early in 2010, the previous president of the Pontifical Academy, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, faced demands for his resignation after he sharply criticized Brazilian Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho for announcing the excommunication of those involved in a highly publicized abortion case involving a young girl.

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