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Now the Pontifical Academy for Life adopts ‘pro-choice’ rhetoric

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 21, 2022

When he defended the appointment of a scholar who favors legal abortion to the Pontifical Academy of Life (PAL), Archbishop Vincenzio Paglia compounded the offense by adopting the rhetoric of the abortion lobby.

In his remarks to the Catholic News Service Archbishop Paglia, the president of the PAL, said that it was inaccurate to describe Mariana Mazzucato as a proponent of abortion. “Her tweets may have been ‘pro-choice,’ he said, but they were not ‘pro-abortion.’”

For more than 40 years, the abortion lobby has promoted the use of the term “pro-choice” to describe someone who supports legal abortion. That rhetorical gambit has been eagerly embraced by the Democratic Party, the mainstream media. But to see it accepted by the Vatican—and, worse, by the very Vatican office created by Pope St. John Paul II to protect the truth about the value of human life—is appalling.

But the appalling Archbishop Paglia was not finished. He reminded CNS that the members of the PAL are not chosen because of their religious affiliation. “They are not all Catholics and do not profess all the tenets of the Catholic faith,” he said. Here he comes perilously close to accepting another canard advanced by the abortion lobby: the notion that it is a matter of religious belief, rather than scientific fact, that an unborn child is a human being.

While they may differ on the tenets of faith, the archbishop continues, the PAL members all “defend life in its entirety.” Here is yet another popular ploy of abortion defenders: the “seamless garment” suggestion that supporting human dignity in other ways might be enough to outweigh support for the slaughter of the unborn.

So someone who supports legalized abortion on demand, and wants you to pay for it, regardless of your “choice” (to say nothing of the “choice” of the unborn baby) may be eligible for the PAL. Someone who apparently does not know when human life begins may qualify as an “expert” to advise the Vatican on matters of human life. Someone who campaigns against malnutrition (as Mazzucato does) can be forgiven for campaigning for abortion. And all this comes from the president of the Vatican body dedicated to the defense of life? With friends like these…

Archbishop Paglia says that the PAL, in studying Mazzucato’s academic work, never saw that she had “taken a position against life.” No doubt that is true, by the lax standards the archbishop sets. He continued: “You cannot judge the deepest convictions of a person by four tweets.”

That last statement is especially revealing, for two reasons:

First, Archbishop Paglia’s criticism appears to be aimed directly at Catholic World News, since our report on the Mazzucato appointment called attention to the times (seven, actually) when her Twitter account clearly showed her pro-abortion sympathies. It is gratifying to know that at least the Vatican is sensitive to our criticism.

Second, the tweets that our report cited do not involve expert opinions or abstruse economic analysis. In every case, they convey fairly standard pro-abortion talking points and slogans.

Is it astonishing that a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life would applaud the rhetoric of the abortion lobby? Alas, not really. So does Archbishop Paglia.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: b_ulmen7713 - Nov. 01, 2022 9:13 AM ET USA

    One of the truly frustrating parts is that these people are operating in plan view and we are powerless to stop them. Frankly, its getting tiresome pointing out yet another way so-called Catholics are behaving/promoting/advocating anything but Catholicism.

  • Posted by: feedback - Oct. 24, 2022 10:52 AM ET USA

    This is the best summary of the “seamless garment” - a suggestion that supporting human dignity in other ways might be enough to outweigh support for the slaughter of the unborn. This garment is a repugnant cloak of false virtue.

  • Posted by: Retired01 - Oct. 23, 2022 1:44 PM ET USA

    Any faithful Catholic who is in denial and still defends the current pontificate has hi/her head buried in the sand. Sadly, there are still many useful idiots.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Oct. 22, 2022 3:11 PM ET USA

    "You cannot four tweets". VS 67: "the morality of human acts is not deduced only from one's intention, orientation or fundamental option, understood as an intention devoid of a clearly determined binding content or as an intention with no corresponding positive effort to fulfil the different obligations of the moral life...Every choice always implies a reference by the deliberate will to the goods and evils indicated by the natural law as goods to be pursued and evils to be avoided."

  • Posted by: rfr46 - Oct. 22, 2022 3:50 AM ET USA

    Thanks, Mr. Lawler. I am afraid that you will lose your place on the Christmas card list of "the appalling Archbishop Paglia." But there is another appalling figure who is responsible for the appointment of such men. To me, that is the real story here.