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Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Pope Francis

COMMENTARY: As has been the case before, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life often begins with the political situation and then sees where the Gospel and the Catholic Tradition can fit.

Father Raymond J. de SouzaThe statement from the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL) should have been a dog-bites-man story, hardly worth issuing. Yet there it was, affirming that its president, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia “reiterates his ‘No’ towards euthanasia and assisted suicide, in full adherence to the magisterium.”

In recent years, that the PAL president fully adheres to the magisterium has become, surprisingly, something of a man-bites-dog story. Why that should be is worth noting and speaks to the general environment in Rome.

The PAL was founded by Pope St. John Paul II to advance the Church’s teaching and witness to the sanctity of human life by drawing on the best scholarship from a variety of disciplines. Thus, when Archbishop Paglia said last week that a potential Italian law removing criminal penalties for euthanasia and assisted suicide would be “feasible” and that “legal mediation may be the greatest common good concretely possible under the conditions we find ourselves in,” it struck many as contrary not only to Catholic teaching but the purpose of the PAL. …

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