Pontifical Academy Against Life?

News: World News
by Aidan O'Connor  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  September 29, 2022   

Health experts call out 'radical change'

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VATICAN (ChurchMilitant.com) - A group of international medical experts is pointing out errors in a recent Holy See publication.

Nine experts in health, fertility and family care have published an open letter calling out the Pontifical Academy for Life's book Theological Ethics of Life: Scritpure, Tradition, Practical Challenges. The work suggests Catholic couples may resort to using contraceptives, a proposal the medical experts refute in their letter.

The experts clarify, "The position of the Catholic Church has not changed." They go on to highlight a distinction that may account for the confusion:

St. John Paul II warned against confusing the "law of gradualness" with the "gradualness of the law," as if there were different degrees or forms of precept in God's law for different individuals and situations. The law of gradualness supposes that we are all invited to fully live the proposals of the Church, even if we manage to reach them little by little, from our personal capacities and circumstances, counting on grace and being accompanied to overcome difficulties.

The Church does not approve of artificial contraception in any circumstance and does not teach that the moral law changes for people in different circumstances.

News Report: Contraception Double-Down

Pope St. Paul VI affirmed the Church's teaching on contraception in the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae:

Therefore we base our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when we are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, as the Magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. 

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation — whether as an end or as a means.

Likewise, Pope Pius XI wrote in 1930's Casti Connubii, "Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature."

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Now that the Pontifical Academy for Life's publication is proposing the use of contraceptives, the nine medical experts are urging the faithful to look to Humanae Vitae and its warning against the widespread use of contraception.

They explained in their open letter:

The result, the breakdown of the family and the coercion of governments, was predicted by the encyclical Humanae Vitae. In addition to the worsening situation of women who were supposed to be "liberated" by these methods and the increase in marriage failures, we are now suffering a "demographic winter" and epidemics of sexually transmitted infections are on the rise ... .

The book the experts are criticizing is a collection of papers and notes from a theological seminar hosted last year by the Pontifical Academy for Life. The president of the Academy, Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, penned the introduction for the book, claiming it contains a "paradigm shift" in moral theology. The archbishop noted, attempting to explain the moral shift, "[t]he text makes a radical change, going, so to speak, from the sphere to the polyhedron."

Abp. Vincenzo Paglia

The thrust of Abp. Paglia's comments is unclear.

Catholics have also struggled with vague language in Pope Francis' encyclical Amoris Laetitia, in which the pontiff seemed to advocate for the acceptance of divorced-and-civilly-remarried couples to Communion. Francis has made subsequent statements to the contrary. 

Before Pope Francis appointed Paglia to the Pontifical Academy, Paglia came under fire for commissioning a homosexual artist to paint an apparently homoerotic mural in his cathedral. In the painting, Abp. Paglia is depicted among what critics have called an "erotic" group of  homosexual men, prostitutes and others being drawn up to Heaven.

After his appointment to the Academy for Life, the archbishop invited Fr. Maurizio Chiodi to be a member of the academy. Father Chiodi is known for supporting homosexual acts and Catholics' use of contraception.

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