Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic World News

Archbishop Paglia pays tribute to Jérôme Lejeune, discusses Pontifical Academy for Life’s ‘new phase’

June 18, 2024

» Continue to this story on Vatican News (Italian)

CWN Editor's Note: Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, paid tribute the academy’s first president, Venerable Jérôme Lejeune, at the presentation of a book by the postulator of his beatification cause.

Lejeune, a medical doctor, discovered the genetic cause of Down syndrome and led the academy briefly before his death in 1994. In 2021, Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing his heroic virtues.

Lejeune, said Archbishop Paglia, “has provided valid and modern tools to counteract that too widespread throwaway culture that affects the fragile and the weak, and among all the elderly and children.”

The academy, the prelate continued, has begun “a new phase to face the new challenges that arise before us.” The path to take now, he explained, is universal integral human development, demanded by the “economic, social, cultural, and environmental conditions in which our life develops”.

The Pontifical Academy for Life has been beset by controversies in recent years. In 2022, it published Theological Ethics of Life. Scripture, Tradition, Practical Challenges, which questioned the Church’s teaching on contraception.

Pope Francis also appointed supporters of legalized abortion, as well as persons who had made ambiguous statements related to abortion, as ordinary members of the Academy—even though the academy’s statutes state that ordinary members must be chosen on the basis of their “faithful service in the defense and promotion of the right to life of every human person.” Both the Pontifical Academy for Life and Pope Francis himself came to the defense of the appointment of Mariana Mazzucato, a pro-abortion economist, to the academy.

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