Catholic World News

Archbishop Paglia defends appointment of abortion supporter to Pontifical Academy for Life

June 19, 2017

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia has defended the appointment of an Oxford ethicist who supports legal abortion as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Archbishop Paglia told the Italian daily La Stampa that Nigel Biggar had been appointed on the recommendation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He added that Biggar would not be involved in any discussions about abortion. He said that Biggar had never written about abortion—which is apparently true, although in a dialogue with the notoriously pro-abortion Princeton professor Peter Singer, which was reprinted in Standpoint magazine, Biggar said that he would support the legalization of abortion through the first 18 weeks of pregnancy.

Biggar told Associated Press that although he was not in accord with Catholic teaching on abortion, he did support the Church’s stand against euthanasia.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jun. 21, 2017 1:53 AM ET USA

    It is important not to overlook Jim Hanink's lesson on prudence. Presumably an Oxford ethicist would occupy the pinnacle of intellectual competence. From your report, may we infer that he would not support abortion after 18 weeks of pregnancy? If not, on what intellectual basis does he draw his conclusion? A fetus is just as alive at 18 weeks (or 17) as it is at 19. Does he believe the soul is infused after 18 weeks? His position is not intellectual but moral, or should we say, immoral.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jun. 20, 2017 6:08 AM ET USA

    There's two things about this business that are troubling: the first is the obvious one. This is like appointing someone who can't balance his checking account to the commission that is putting the Vatican's finances in order. The second one is WHY listen to an Anglican prelate to the point that you appoint someone he recommends? The Anglicans have been in disarray for over a generation.

  • Posted by: Jim Hanink - Jun. 19, 2017 11:29 PM ET USA

    If the reports are correct, major problems remain. First, why did Nigel Biggar's vetting come only after his stance on abortion met criticism? Second, with respect, why should the recommendation of the Archbishop of Canterbury be decisive? Third, given the unity of the virtues, there is a fortiori a unity within the virtue of justice---which both abortion and euthanasia violate. A further lesson to note: prudence is both an intellectual and moral virtue.

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Jun. 19, 2017 9:02 PM ET USA

    The fact that Biggar cannot see the close correlation between the ethics and morality of opposing euthanasia with those opposing abortion would seem sufficient to disqualify him from discussions of either. All human life is sacred at all stages and in all conditions, because it comes from God. Period. It really IS that simple.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jun. 19, 2017 8:39 PM ET USA

    So now we are running the church on the Recommendations of the Archbishop of Canterbury, without doing due diligence of his recommendations. Surely their are much better Catholics to obtain recommendations from. Many of them among those dismissed from the Academy by the Pope.

  • Posted by: mwean7331 - Jun. 19, 2017 6:54 PM ET USA

    How erudite of Biggar to not support euthanasia but approve abortion. It's not okay to "kill" people by shortening their life with a needle but okay to kill the human in the womb What logic! Of course we do need an Atheist (there is no God) to tell the lay Catholic and clergy how to "know" a God he doesn't believe in. More logic. Maybe they think they will convert him. The Church "waters" are getting more mirky all the time. Pray we don't all "drown"