CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 September 2018

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Pontifical Academy for Life stirs the pot

VATICAN (SE): Nigel Biggar, a philosopher and professor of moral and pastoral theology at Oxford University and a proponent of legal abortion up to 18 weeks into pregnancy, is among the 45 new appointments to the Pontifical Academy for Life.
 
Biggar is on record as saying, “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.”
 
In a conversation with Peter Singer, a supporter of infanticide, he continued, “In terms of maintaining a strong social commitment to preserving human life in hindered forms and in terms of not becoming too casual about killing human life, we need to draw the line much more conservatively.”
 
Biggar added, “It is not clear that a human foetus 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.”
 
However, the Catholic News Agency reported that he has opposed the legalisation of assisted suicide, but written in defence of the just war theory.
 
The Pontifical Academy for Life has come under the spotlight over new statutes that ended the terms of the 172 members of the academy and removed a requirement for new members to sign a statement promising to defend life in conformity with the Church’s magisterium.
 
The controversial director of the academy, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, defended his action, saying the new members are not only talented and accomplished, but representative of all who value life at all its stages.
 
He described the mission of the academy as being to express clearly what it means to be human and provide an attractive vision of human love and solidarity by drawing on the great treasury of human and gospel wisdom to inspire all cultures to a new and fruitful humanism.

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