INFOVATICANA July 18, 2017
“I claim the need for greater depth in defending life, greater effectiveness and involving as many allies as possible,” said the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life in an interview with the weekly Alfa and Omega .
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia , president of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the John Paul II Institute, reiterates his defense of the reform of the institution he presides over in a new interview. Speaking to the weekly Alfa and Omega, Paglia speaks of the need for “an extension of horizons and perspectives”, a “multiplication of themes” and “replacement” and “redesign”.
The reform of the Academy for Life and some of the new appointments have not escaped the controversy and, in recent weeks, Paglia has been forced to break through criticism in various media.
In an extensive interview with correspondent in Rome of National Catholic Register, Edward Pentin, Paglia emphasized that the new Statutes of the Academy require a greater commitment on the part of the members with the provided teaching of the Church.
Also in an interview published by Vatican Insider , the president of the Academy for Life defended the appointment of Nigel Biggar , who assured a few years ago that he would be inclined to draw the line for abortion in 18 weeks. Paglia said that Biggar has no intention of entering into the future in the debate on abortion And that his position on the end of life is “absolutely coincident” with that of the Catholic Church.
In this new interview with Alfa and Omega , the president of the Academy for Life refers to the expansion of participation among scholars to some exponents of other religions and confessions, even non-believers. He also emphasizes that all scholars “must be within a framework of the defense of life,” with the certainty that “no one will act against Catholic thinking.”
According to Paglia, academics know that they must defend life and not act against Catholic thought. He also argues that “the scenario is so dramatic that we must have as many scientists as possible in the same direction.” “The way is that. Some may be on the edge, but they are in the way, “he says.
Paglia denies that the Church has withdrawn from the struggle in defense of the unborn life and defends that “life, if we understand it in a global sense, requires a much more articulated approach than simply repeating a principle called non-negotiable.”
“I claim the need for greater depth in advocating for life, greater effectiveness and involving as many allies as possible,” he said, adding that it was “a much more complex and widespread new strategy.”
In the face of criticism from those who consider that he has renounced fighting for Christian values, Paglia says he is “so convinced” of the strength of these values that he does not defend them because “they defend themselves.” “With that attitude not only does not silence the identity, on the contrary, I make it so strong that it is capable of touching who does not believe”, says the archbishop.
Regarding the information that talks about a possible commission to reform Humanae vitae , Paglia denies that there is such a commission, while adding that one of the central issues of our time is procreation and that it is “myopic” to raise the problem ” In contraceptive terms yes or no “, when today the children are made into test tubes, there are rent bellies or gender theory. “The risk is that, from looking back, we lose the battle of culture,” he warns.
You can then read the full interview published in the weekly Alfa and Omega :
What does Pope Francisco want with the reform to the Academy for Life?
Today there is a majority culture according to which anything is marriage, anything is family. This cultural horizon demands from the Church, according to Pope Francis, an adequate reflection. That implies a restructuring of bodies of the Roman Curia. The academy, which was focused on bioethical issues, requires broadening horizons. It is about understanding life as the ages of life . To take the dimensions of human life in its complexity, in all its aspects and conditions, linked to the relationship between man and creation. It is the “human ecology” of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. All this requires a redesign, an expansion of perspectives, a multiplication of themes, a change.
Does the Church withdraw from the struggle in defense of the unborn life?
No. It is clear that there are certain prejudices on this subject; Sometimes very complex and delicate situations have become ideological battles that require detailed attention. Life, if we understand it in a global sense, requires a much more articulated approach than simply repeating a principle called non-negotiable . No one wants to negotiate anything, on the contrary. I claim the need for greater depth in defending life, greater effectiveness, and involving as many allies as possible. It is a new strategy, much more complex and widespread. That brings us to the open sea, does not close us in positions on the defensive, but gives us the responsibility of fermenting contemporary culture. The project is very ambitious: we do not want to defend, we want to change the world. This requires a melee, traversing new trails, dusty roads, sometimes passing between thorns. This itinerary must be managed, not suffered. Battles must be faced to win them, not to be defeated.
Do you know that, for many Catholics, what you say is perceived as a reluctance to fight for Christian values?
I think exactly the opposite. I am so convinced of the strength of Christian values that I should not defend them, they defend themselves. With that attitude not only does not silence the identity, on the contrary, I make it so strong that it is capable of touching who does not believe. I know well that we live in a dramatic change of time, but that is precisely why we are saved together, or we are not saved. I claim the strength of the Gospel, which is more than an ideology; I claim the strength of dialogue, which is not diplomacy, is much more. This is the strategy of those who think that faith has no need of fortresses, faith is much stronger than the prince of this world.
Is this the meaning of the changes applied in academia in recent times? Like the change of statutes, where the obligatory oath of academics was removed.
I must clarify one thing: on the change of statutes, I just picked up what had been decided before.
Was it already working on that before?
Everything was ready before my arrival. They were proposals from the previous administration, I just picked up the material and took it to the Pope. It is not Paglia who changed everything, we only expanded the participation [among the academics] to some exponents of other religions and confessions, even non believers. But they must all be within a framework of life defense. I did not accept pro-war scientists, for example. Some positions may be somewhat differentiated, but with the certainty that none will act against Catholic thought.
Does this the academicians know? The appointment of some sparked heated controversy.
They know. The scenario is so dramatic that we must have as many scientists as possible in the same direction. The way is that. Some may be on the edge, but they are on the road. Today humanity is at stake, today there is the temptation to create life, to manipulate the universe … They are gigantic challenges that ask us for alliances as wide as possible.
Does that imply discarding the historical definitions of the Church in bioethics?
Unlike. But if we only stop in one or two battles, I’m sure we’ll lose even those.
Are you working on a commission to reform the encyclical Humanae Vitae ?
There is no commission, that has all been invented. Anyway, I am convinced that one of the central themes of our time, seen then by Paul VI, is procreation. What is the problem? There is a temptation to want to create a life: in China, he is forced to have only one child. Then he who can beget does not. The one who can not go crazy for begetting to bombard his own body. Growth is skewed by the few births and the extension of the old life. Before this is shortsighted to raise the problem in contraceptive terms yes or no , when today the children are made into test tubes, there are rent bellies, gender theory … The risk is that, from looking back, we lose the battle of the culture. How to announce the Gospel of always to the men of today, individualists, who pretend to control the procreation? This is the big challenge. Huge. And us playing to see who is more traditional.
And the John Paul II Institute on marriage and family will lose its name? Will it close?
It’s crazy! These are false news, a lie told by those who do not want to understand. Not only does it preserve the name, the institute needs to be strengthened. We want to expand it, give it prestige in the international field. We will enrich the teachings, strengthen the institute academically and retain its name, John Paul II. It can not be other way.
Do you feel that there is a media campaign with all this false information?
I am saddened that there are these accusations, falsehoods and detractions. What I am saying is what will be done. I have asked episcopal conferences to send students. They wanted to close the Australian headquarters and I objected, calling another bishop to change it diocese but to continue. Moreover, I proposed its opening also in some African country.
And use it to study phenomena such as polygamy, which so preoccupies the African bishops …
To reflect on all these situations. The Episcopal Conference of Mozambique wrote me because he wants to open a section. I would like her to be born in Anglophone Africa too. It is essential to strengthen the institute’s cultural level at its headquarters, so that the members can also raise the level and reflect, in a more detailed way, the situations of the contemporary world.
What responds to those who question their commitment to the defense of life?
Some American friends doubt that I am defending my life. I told them: life not only I defend it, it would lack more that I was in favor of abortion, but we are crazy? What I wonder is: why are not they against the death penalty? In the last five months, 6,500 people died from firearms in the United States. Does anyone talk about them? The life of these people, many times young, is worth less? Do we have to be quiet? Why do not we defend them? For this I accuse of not defending life. Let’s put everything on the table, that’s what I would like.