Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pontifical Academy for Life members call for removal of Fisichella

Lifesite news reports on the disquiet within the Pontifical Academy for Life to which I have referred in a previous post. Five members have published a statement which refers to conerns about integrity within the Vatican curia as well as the fact that the Academy's president Archbishop Fisichella has undermined greatly the Church's ability to witness to the sanctity of life.

As lifesite news reports:
The statement says that members held back from a direct confrontation last week, believing that an open challenge at the time would have merely caused the Vatican’s Curia to “close ranks” around one of their own “because of the clericalist culture of that body” and despite the “lack of support” for Fisichella himself.

“There is credible information that Fisichella is widely perceived in the Curia to be an inappropriate President of PAV and there is a reasonable hope that the Holy Father will recognise the need to provide him with an occupation better suited to his abilities,” the statement said.

The statement’s signatories include Monsignor Michel Schooyans, Professor Emeritus of the University of Louvain, Belgium; Professor Luke Gormally, the former director of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics; Christine de Marcellus de Vollmer, head of the Alliance for the Family in Venezuela; Dr. Maria Smereczynska a corresponding member from Poland and Dr. Thomas Ward, president of the National Association of Catholic Families.

It says that Fisichella’s claim that the Academy “is moving forward and working to speak as a united body” is belied by the reality and that it gives a distorted and false impression to the Church at large of the situation in the Academy.

They call it “absurd” that the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, is “being led by an ecclesiastic who does not understand what absolute respect for innocent human lives entails.” The situation is one that can “be rectified only by those who are responsible for his appointment as President.”

Read the full report and the full statement of the members, two of whom are from England: Professor Luke Gormally Professor Luke Gormally, Ordinary Member of the Academy and former Director (1981-
2000) of The Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics, London, UK, and Dr Thomas Ward, Corresponding Member of the Academy,President of The National Association of Catholic Families and a Retired General Practitioner, UK.

UPDATE: See John Smeaton of SPUC.


  1. Indeed Father, but as Vaticanistas Sandro Magister and Paolo Rodari have pointed out, the issue goes beyond Ab. Fisichella to the Secretary of State, Cdl. Bertone, and Gian Maria Vian of l'Osservatore Romano. It is one of a number of issues where the Secretariat of State and l'OR have been embroiled directly or indirectly - the Dino Boffo case (former editor of l'Avvenire, the publication of the Italian Bishops' Conference, who resigned under pressure) and the 'encomiums' of l'OR for President Obama last year.

    These are seen as unwarranted and uninformed interventions instigated by Bertone in matters better dealt with by National Episcopal Conferences (Brasilian, Italian and American in these cases). It hits closer to home in Italy where there is perceived tension between Bertone and Cdl. Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops' Conference - not to mention having some domestic political ramifications.

    However, what is upsetting to many is that the Holy Father's name has been dragged into these issues also. Indirectly, as he was responsible for both Bertone's and Bagnasco's appointments. Directly, in the recent declaration by the Secretariat of State, published in l'OR, stating that Bertone and Vian had nothing to do with the Boffo affair and that Pope Benedict was "fully informed" about the matter and had "full trust" in those around him. Vatican intrigue and Curial politics proceed apace in Rome...

    However, the article by Mgr. Schooyans on the 'compassion trap' was excellent!

  2. The Holy Father, speaking to the Scottish Bishops during their Ad Limina recently:

    "Recent developments in medical ethics and some of the practices advocated in the field of embryology give cause for great concern. If the Church’s teaching is compromised, even slightly, in one such area, then it becomes hard to defend the fullness of Catholic doctrine in an integral manner."
    Sometimes it's hard for a lay Catholic like me, to understand how a prince of the Church, like Cardinal Fisichella, can apparently 'not understand what absolute respect for human life entails'.
    I appreciate GOR's comment above, but really, should anyone at that (or any) level of the hierarchy allow internal or external politics to cloud their thinking so that the teaching of the Church on such a grave matter as abortion becomes obfuscated?

  3. Someone wise once noted that priests shouldn't get into politics. It will always cloud judgement. Priests need to be able to state the moral teaching or the church and natural law clearly and firmly. And a Cardinal of all people should understand something as basic as respect for human life and the right to life!
    But then sadly he isn't the only man in a red hat who just doesn't get it.
    What is happening to our Church?


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