Reports of Pope Francis degrading the Roman Catholic Church’s most important pro-life institution are alarming.
The news of Pope Francis degrading the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life is shocking but not surprising. The Roman Catholic Church has been at the forefront of opposition to abortion and euthanasia—not only in doctrine, but in the provision of intellectual resources. But that means Pope Francis can alter these resources as preparation for altering the doctrine.
Life News reports, “Pope Francis guts Vatican pro-life academy of members chosen by St. John Paul II.”
In his clearing out and re-stacking of the Vatican’s highest pro-life institution, Pope Francis has not invited many former members specifically chosen by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI for their pro-life-and-family credentials as well as their fidelity to Catholic teaching. Many of those not invited back had previously been openly critical of the direction the Academy was being pushed in recent years.
At the same time, however, Pope Francis appointed a pro-abortion theologian who has expressed support for euthanasia in certain circumstances.
Former Academy member Christine De Marcellus Vollmer, who was not given another term, told LifeSiteNews that the new appointments reveal a “great lack” of understanding in Catholic leadership regarding the current attacks facing human life.
“They don’t seem to understand the realities of the threats to life,” she said.
I don’t see any of the important people who are knowledgeable and fighting pornography,” she added. “This is a huge lack.”
Pope Francis made the appointment of 45 ordinary members and five honorary members to the Pontifical Academy for Life, or Pontificia Academiae Pro Vita (PAV), on May 16, and the Vatican released the pope’s choices Tuesday.
The Pope had released new statutes for the PAV last November, in which members were no longer required to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings, while he also expanded the PAV’s mandate to include a focus on the environment.
Of the new appointees, only 28 of the preceding 139 members have been reappointed, the National Catholic Register’s Ed Pentin notes. This adds 23 new members, while 112 academics, including some founding members – most of who had been chosen by Popes St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI – were left off the PAV roster.
Previous members not asked back not only represent important pro-life voices, but some who have also been critical of the Pope’s agenda.
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