‘Taken out of context’: Pontifical Academy defends Archbishop Paglia’s abortion law remarks

“That then the law can, indeed must, be improved in the direction of more comprehensive protection of the unborn child is more than desirable, taking care to avoid the risk of aggravating the situation, as has unfortunately happened in some cases.”

In the past, the academy’s statement said, Paglia had spoken “about the protection and promotion of life at all stages of development (from conception to death) and in all situations,” such as “children, women, prisoners, people sentenced to death, migrants, the elderly.” 

The Pontifical Academy for Life has recently courted controversy over a book and statements made on social media. 

In late June, the academy’s official Twitter account began promoting a Vatican-published book synthesizing a 2021 seminar on ethics, in which a participant discussed “the possible legitimacy of contraception in certain cases.”

The pontifical academy said in an Aug. 8 press release that the seminar discussed “all the issues related to the ethics of life … including contraception and sexual matrimonial morality.” Euthanasia was also a topic of the seminar.

Some of the promotional posts for the seminar and subsequent book received pushback in media reports and from Catholic Twitter users who said they presented wrong or confusing information about the Church’s teachings.

The Pontifical Academy for Life was founded by Pope St. John Paul II and professor Jerome Lejeune in 1994. Pope Francis named Archbishop Paglia president of the academy in 2016. The institution is dedicated to promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic. 

In November 2016, the academy came under controversy after Paglia removed a requirement that academy members sign a statement promising to defend life in conformity with the Church’s magisterium.  

Since abortion’s legalization in Italy, it is estimated more than 6 million children have been aborted.