Catholic Culture Overview
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Pontifical Academy for Life, emptied of members, delays annual assembly

February 28, 2017

The Pontifical Academy for Life has postponed its annual assembly, because at the moment the Academy has no members other than the new president, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.

Last year Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Paglia, revised the statutes of the Vatican office, and purged the entire list of its members. Vatican journalist Sando Magister remarks that the Academy now lists 172 “former” members, but no current members. New appointments are now being considered, he writes.

The annual meeting of the Pontifical Academy, ordinarily scheduled early in the year, has been moved until October 2017. The original plan for the annual assembly had been to focus on the Vatican instruction Donum Vitae, on artificial forms of reproduction. That topic has been discarded, and the new topic—“Accompanying Life: New responsibilities in the technological era”—provides few clues about the Academy’s priorities.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Feb. 28, 2017 11:41 AM ET USA

    Donum Vitae was one of the most important moral instructions to come out of the prolific pen of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. It was from that instruction that I learned the nuance between homologous and heterologous artificial fertilization. An annual meeting about Donum Vitae is vitally needed in the age of New Church. Could the definition of scandal be stretched to include an empty Pontifical Academy commissioned to combat the most important threats to human life being promoted today?