Archbishop Defends Appointment of Pro-Abortion Member to Pontifical Academy for Life

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ROME — The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, has defended the appointment of Mariana Mazzucato to the Academy, insisting that her positions may be “pro-choice” but they are not “pro-abortion.”

Mariana Mazzucato, an Italian-American economist described by Catholic News Agency (CNA) as “an outspoken advocate of abortion rights,” was one of 14 new members of the Academy appointed by Pope Francis on October 15 to serve a five-year term.

In an interview with Catholic News Service (CNS), Archbishop Paglia said that all the members of the Academy “have at heart the value of human life in their area of expertise.”

“They are not all Catholics and do not profess all the tenets of the Catholic faith,” he said. “And we know there are differences on the level of ethics, but they defend life in its entirety.”

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in June overturning Roe v. Wade, Mazzucato released a flurry of tweets and retweets on Twitter deploring the decision, including a video of commentator Ana Kasparian blasting Christians for imposing their views on society and calling the Bible “your little mythical book.”

Mariana Mazzucato, professor at University College London (UCL), during a Bloomberg panel on day three of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty)

Mazzucato’s comment on the video was “So good!”

Another of her retweets bore the message that “abortion is health care” and “saves lives,” while yet another called the decision one of “the darkest days for women’s rights in my lifetime” and warning that the ruling would “embolden anti-abortion & anti-women forces in other countries too.”

Confronted with Mazzucato’s record on social media, Archbishop Paglia said one “cannot judge the deepest convictions of a person by four tweets.”

Her tweets may have been “pro-choice” but they were not “pro-abortion,” he added.

This is not the first time Paglia has found himself in hot water for ambiguous comments regarding the evil of abortion.

Last August, the archbishop called Italy’s controversial Law 194 legalizing abortion “a pillar of society” and insisted that no one wishes to overturn it.

Interviewed by Italian state television Rai Tre, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia lauded the 1978 law allowing abortion in Italy, a move that critics called a new “ground zero of morality.”

“I believe that at this point the Law 194 is a pillar of our social life,” the archbishop stated.

Giorgia Rombolà, the host of the program, asked the archbishop: “So, Law 194 is not up for debate?” to which he replied, “No, absolutely not.”

Mariana Mazzucato Lecturer in Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL) attends 48th edition of Economic Forum of Cernobbio on September 02, 2022 in Cernobbio, Italy. (Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Moreover, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June, Paglia did not congratulate pro-life Americans on this extraordinary victory for life, but instead took the occasion to urge the passage of more stringent gun laws and the abolishment of capital punishment.

“We must fight so that the death penalty is abolished along with abortion,” he said at the time.

For her part, Mazzucato has declared that Pope Francis is the sort of pontiff an atheist like her can admire.

In 2016, she tweeted, “As an atheist, never thought I would love a Pope this much. What a star!” in reference to two comments Francis had made — one suggesting Donald Trump was not a Christian and the other in a U.N. speech when he criticized the global banking system and warned about climate change.


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