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A high-ranking Vatican prelate is praising a radical, leftist atheist who wanted to legalize prostitution and who sympathized with pedophiles. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, offered words of high praise at the presentation of the biography of radical politician Marco Pannella, who passed away in 2016 and was one of Paglia's close friends
Now Catholics are calling for Paglia's resignation for sponsoring a population conference at the Vatican with a noted population control advocate. Roberto de Mattei, Catholic author and historian, published a recent editorial
in La Corrispondenza Romana
asking for the dismissal of both Paglia and Bp. Marcel Sanchez Sorondo for hosting a conference with speaker Paul R. Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb
Sorondo created controversy in the beginning of the year by inviting
Ehrlich, an American biologist also known for his advocacy of abortion, to speak at the Vatican. Mattei's editorial claimed that "among all the recent episodes that have brought scandal among Catholics, these two are provoking outcries," and asked for their immediate removal from their positions.
Archbishop Paglia offered a speech
at the Pannella conference praising his friend, in spite of the fact that two of them abided by entirely different moral standards. Some speculate Paglia may have thought their differences were simply epistemological. As put by La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana
, "[In] the words of Abp. Paglia, there isn't the affection of a friend who has shared a sincere dialogue regarding the truth of life; there's the enthusiastic adherence to the ideology that moved Pannella and that is still moving his followers."
Pannella was a declared atheist, a self-professed libertine, an anti-prohibitionist who pleaded for every "civil rights" cause that violated human dignity, from legalization of drugs and prostitution to association with the cause of pedophiles
. He was one of the most important leaders of Italy's Radical Party, whose biggest achievements were the implementation of divorce and abortion in the country. Pannella was also responsible
for the candidacy of former porn star Ilona Staller (artistic name "Cicciolina" and the first adult actor to win a seat in parliament). Throughout his life, he advocated euthanasia, and his fervent campaign for abortion was packed with lies and anticlerical sentiment
The archbishop praised him as "a man of great spirituality" whose "death was a great loss for our country."
He "always defended everyone's dignity, especially the marginalized," he continued. "Pannella was very spiritual."
"Marco has inspired a more beautiful life not only for Italy but for the world, which needs men who know how to communicate like him," he enthused. "I hope the spirit of Marco helps us to live in this direction."
He also said that "Pannella would reprimand us Catholics because we have forgotten the Gospels."
Catholic journalist and writer Constanza Miriano, who has published several books on marriage and family, had a different opinion
Marco Pannella was a despicable person, who only made abortion victorious by filling the Italian mass media of lies. He said that every year in Italy, millions of clandestine abortions happened, resulting in the death of 25,000 women a year. The year he denounced that, the total of women of fertility age who died, of all possible causes, were 15,000. A liar.
And Danilo Quinto, a former treasurer of the Radical Party who converted to Catholicism and is now an established Catholic writer declared:
The words of Paglia haven't surprised me. ... The new church they are building needs a saint and Pannella was appropriate. The lukewarm needed a saint, and their saint must be someone whom the world loves. ... Without their complicity, Pannella would never have entered the guts of Italian society with his ideology. His ideology successfully entered Italian homes and infiltrated the Church.
Notizie ProVita, a pro-life news organ, didn't spare the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life from its criticism. "Paglia is now the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, an institution that we no longer know; having seen the last developments, it'll probably become a branch of the Radical Party and a photo of Pannella will replace the Cross."
Judie Brown, president of American Life League, who served on the academy Paglia heads for 15 years, recently expressed
her concerns. "The Pontifical Academy for Life
is undergoing an overhaul by Pope Francis and his political operatives within the Vatican's hierarchy, and it is one of the most heartbreaking events I have seen in my lifetime."
In September 2016, Paglia gave an interview
to Corriere della Sera
, where he commented on his goals as president:
I want to dialogue, to build bridges, also in a dialectic manner, and to create a new humanism. The truth is dialogical, it searches to unite and not to separate. To whoever accused him of being too revolutionary, Pope John XXIII replied, "It's not that the Gospels have changed, we simply learned to interpret it better."
La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana
, whose article on Paglia's declarations on Pannella was titled
"The Pontifical Academy for Death," seems to see in his new humanism "a Church that doesn't proclaim Christ but common human values; the sacrifices are not to take Christ to the people, but Christ is the excuse to adhere to the dominant thought."
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