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President of Pontifical Academy for Life should be replaced, 5 members say

CWN - February 18, 2010

Five members of the Pontifical Academy for Life have joined in a rare public call for the resignation of the academy's president, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella. Their complaint traces back to the dispute that erupted last year when Archbishop Fisichella wrote an essay in L'Osservatore Romano, criticizing Brazilian Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho for his handling of a controversial abortion case involving a young girl.

Although the Brazilian prelate complained that the criticism in the Vatican newspaper was inaccurate, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith eventually sided with Archbishop Cardoso, Archbishop Fisichella has never apologized or retracted his criticism. Following a plenary meeting of the Pontifical Academy for Life earlier this month, which Archbishop Fisichella had described as "serene and calm," five members of the group wrote to say that the archbishop should step down. They argued that Archbishop Fisichella has become a figure of division in the body, and added that it is damaging that the Vatican office dealing with life issues is "being led by an eccelesiastic who does not understand what absolute respect for innocent human lives entails."

The criticism was signed by Msgr. Michel Schooyans, a prominent retired professor from the University of Louvain and an outspoken critic of Archbishop Fisichella. Also signing were Luke Gormally, the past directore of the Linacre Center; Christine Vollmer, the Venezuelan head of the Alliance for the Family; Thomas Word, the president of the National Association of Catholic Families; and Maria Smereczynska, a Polish member.

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  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2010 7:32 PM ET USA

    It is heartining to see evidence of people taking a stance against spineless accomodation to the pressures from the secular world. Abp. Fisichella should resign.

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