A top Vatican official explained a decision last week to name an abortion supporter to the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Academy for Life.
Last week, LifeNews and others questioned Pope Francis’s decision to name Nigel Biggar to the pro-life academy. Biggar, a professor of theology at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, made statements in the past supporting abortion up to 18 weeks of pregnancy, The National Catholic Register reports.
The Pontifical Academy for Life promotes protections for human life at all stages and conducts research on moral and bioethical issues. It is influential world-wide in promoting Catholic teachings on abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and other issues involving life and family.
Responding to concerns Saturday, Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia said the Vatican remains committed to protecting unborn babies from abortion, the Associated Press reports. He said Biggar will not participate in debates about abortion in his role at the academy.
Biggar’s opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia appear to be the reasons for his appointment. He told the AP that he and the Catholic Church have reached the same conclusions about these life issues.
“Abortion is a very important and, I think, difficult moral issue. But, although I have provisional views about it, it is not one that I have published anything substantial on,” he said.
“I have on the other hand written a lot about voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide, spoken about it in the UK, Ireland, France, and Canada, and consistently opposed their legalization. On those two issues, my conclusions align with those of the Roman Catholic Church.”Biggar also said the Vatican asked him to clarify his position on abortion after the controversy arose last week. Paglia said the Archbishop of Canterbury personally recommended Biggar for the pro-life academy.
“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,” Biggar said in 2011.Life News continues