Abp. Paglia Upholds Appointment of Pro-Abort Anglican

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 19, 2017   

"Biggar has never written anything on the subject of abortion"

ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for Life, is upholding the appointment of a pro-abortion philosopher, who's been assigned to work under him at the prolife academy.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Nigel Biggar was one of 45 new appointees chosen to work on the pontifical council under Abp. Paglia. The problem is Biggar has stated during a 2011 interview that it's morally acceptable to abort a person within 18 weeks after conception. He's also said at the same time that a "human fetus" isn't a human being.

Asked about this issue, Abp. Paglia defended the appointment, saying Nigel didn't put these thoughts down in writing. "No, I did not know of that phrase in the 2011 interview. But I would repeat that Biggar has never written anything on the subject of abortion."

 
The revelation that Nigel, an Anglican minister and Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the U.K.'s University of Oxford, is pro-abortion came during an interview in 2011.

During this interview, Nigel stated, "I would be inclined to draw the line for abortion at 18 weeks after conception, which is roughly about the earliest time when there is some evidence of brain activity and therefore of consciousness."

The title of that 2011 interview was "Putting a Value on Human and Animal Life." During the interview, Biggar professed his belief that babies in the womb for some period of time after conception aren't really human:

It's not clear that a human fetus is the same kind of thing as an adult or a mature human being, and therefore deserves quite the same treatment. It then becomes a question of where we draw the line, and there is no absolutely cogent reason for drawing it in one place over another.

This doesn't seem, however, to poise a problem for Abp. Paglia. "The nomination of Professor Biggar was made directly by the primate of the Anglican Church," related the archbishop. Paglia noted the controversy concerning Biggar's appointment arose after it became known that the above statements in 2011 had been made by Biggar.

This wasn't the only time, however, that Biggar had made anti-life statements. Speaking in 2012 at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Biggar rejected the notion that abortion can always be equated with murder. "[It] is not true that all abortion is equivalent to murder," claimed Biggar.

We are therefore in the service and defense of life, from the first moment of conception to the last breath.

The archbishop revealed that Biggar wasn't chosen for his work on defending life at conception but rather, for his work against euthanasia and assisted suicide. "Not only has he never published anything on abortion," said Abp. Paglia, "his specialization is in fact on end of life issues where he's in absolute agreement with the Catholic Church." He added that Biggar doesn't intend to enter into public debate on abortion in the future.

The choice of a pro-abortion philosopher, says Abp. Paglia, doesn't in any way change his own personal opposition to abortion nor that of the pontifical council, which he chairs:

It would be foolish to even think about such a change. The Pontifical Academy for Life, recalls the new statute signed by Pope Francis, has as its goal 'the protection and promotion of the value of human life' ... We are therefore in the service and defense of life, from the first moment of conception to the last breath. Nothing and no one will ever change this clear orientation.

The Church upholds the reality that a human person is formed at conception. She defends, therefore, the value of human life from "womb to tomb" — from the moment of conception until natural death. Common sense Catholics are left wondering how can someone like Biggar, who's supposedly a moral theologian, be missing half of this moral equation. They wonder even more how the Church can trust someone with advanced life issues when they're in error on such a basic life issue as abortion.

 

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Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com.

Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli