Vatican board asked to resign over conference

May 09, 2012 By NICOLE WINFIELD , Associated Press

(AP) -- Members of the Vatican's bioethics advisory panel have called for its board to resign after scientists who don't support core church teaching on issues like birth control and infertility were featured at its annual conference.

The members said the Pontifical Academy of Life's Feb. 24 conference on diagnosing and treating infertility was a "Planned Parenthood-like meeting" that caused great scandal. They were upset because it was a Vatican meeting open to the public yet "consisted in promoting uncritically what the church teaches to be intrinsically bad."

Church teaching opposes in vitro fertilization because it separates conception from intercourse between husband and wife, and often results in the destruction of embryos. The Vatican also opposes artificial contraception, holding that life begins at conception.

In the past, the academy has tended to invite only like-minded professionals to speak at its conferences, ensuring that its proceedings, papers and discussions reflect church teaching. Members say this is designed to give the faithful the best in scientific information that is in-line with Catholic doctrine.

Under the academy's new head, Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, there seems to be a new openness however to engage with non-likeminded scientists while holding true to church teaching on the need to defend life from conception until natural death.

Josef Seifert, an academy member who is rector of the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein, wrote a letter May 4 to Carrasco suggesting that the Pontifical Academy's board resign. He cited the "enormous concern" of several members that the academy was "losing its full and pure commitment to the truth and its enthusiastic service to the unreduced magnificent church teaching on human life in its whole splendor."

The letter, first reported by the Catholic News Agency, said five of the first seven presentations dealt with the pill, and in-vitro fertilization from a purely neutral standpoint, neglecting any moral references.

"This alone is a great evil for a public congress sponsored by (the academy) because a neutral scientific description of methods of infertility treatment has absolutely no place in our academy, which was explicitly founded to deal with these matters in the light of anthropological, theological and moral truth," he wrote.

The Rev. Scott Borgman, the academy's coordinating secretary, said the academy was aware of the concerns reflected in Seifert's letter and was working to move forward. But in a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Borgman stressed that the academy's work also aimed at "creating dialogue with science and not closing ourselves off."

"Most of the members are congruous with the vision of the academy, which is able to understand at once what we believe, and hear other viewpoints knowing that we don't sustain or promote viewpoints which go against truth and the defense of human life from conception until natural death," he said.

He stressed that the academy was a scientific research institution "open to dialogue with the scientific world."

The academy is made up of its Vatican-based secretariat and a membership of Catholic medical doctors, philosophers, clergy and bioethicists from across the globe. It was founded by Pope John Paul II in 1994 to promote and defend human life and it serves as a key bioethical advisory board for the Vatican.

To some degree, the dispute reflects an apparent difference in vision between the secretariat and the more hard-core pro-life members.

But in another, it reflects a broader tension within the church over Pope Benedict XVI's aim to emphasize traditional Catholic identity in everything from Catholic universities to religious orders, while at the same time encouraging dialogue with scientists and even atheists. Some think you can't do both, and that the church merely creates confusion by engaging in such dialogue.

Christine de Vollmer, a founding member of the academy and president of the Latin American Alliance for the Family, said many academy members say the academy's current leadership isn't acting in line with what John Paul envisaged.

"It's clearly not in our statutes to bring up and re-study issues of human life that have already been decided," she said in a phone interview from her home in Caracas, Venezuela.

The statutes do allow for collaboration with non-Catholic and non-Christian scientists, but only if they "recognize that the dignity of man and the inviolability of human life from conception to natural death ... is the essential moral foundation of the science and art of medicine."

It was the second time the academy has come under fire from its members for its speakers' list this year.

In March, it hastily canceled a stem cell research conference whose speakers included scientists whose work involves human embryonic stem cells, which is opposed by the church. The academy said too few sponsors and participants had signed up to take part.

And in 2010, the academy's membership rebelled against its then-president, Monsignor Renato Fisichella, over his less-than-condemnatory comments about abortion. He was soon replaced.

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mvg
3.7 / 5 (9) May 09, 2012
At what point did "life" become sacred to the Catholic church?

Surely, it must have been only AFTER the torturing and burning untold numbers of "heretics" during the dark ages.

Perhaps it was AFTER the demise of the dictators they signed concordats with before world war II.

Maybe it was AFTER they finally admitted how many children's lives their clergy had shown so little respect for.

Nah--I doubt any of the above--

Any claim of respect for life by these guys is a lie.
Lex Talonis
2.2 / 5 (10) May 09, 2012
So just exactly who is "The Church"?

Goose stepping Nazi thugs.....

Seig Heil!, Seig Heil!, Seig Heil! - You will obey the RULES, without questioning the content of the rules.

Seig Heil!, Seig Heil!, Seig Heil! God fucks his daughter and we must adore their love child....

Seig Heil!, Seig Heil!, Seig Heil! If you don't obey us as the right hand men of god, the god of love, then we will, ostracize, torture, excommunicate, and then kill you.

I come from a GOOD CATHOLIC FAMILY - Seig Heil!, Seig Heil!, Seig Heil!

Fuck the cathoholics.
Sean_W
2.8 / 5 (9) May 10, 2012
"The Vatican also opposes artificial contraception, holding that life begins at conception."


Fascinating. So under Vatican teachings, someone who is conceived via artificial artificial conception is... what? Not alive? Dead? A zombie? Soulless?
kaasinees
2.5 / 5 (8) May 10, 2012
The famous roman salute.
mvg
4.2 / 5 (5) May 10, 2012
Maybe it was AFTER they finally admitted how many children's lives their clergy had shown so little respect for.

I've reconsidered my previous statement--
Maybe they WERE showing respect for life by NOT wearing condoms while f@#king the living daylights out of all those children.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (6) May 10, 2012
to give the faithful the best in scientific information that is in-line with Catholic doctrine

Read: Scienctific information that only supports the ab initio sanctioned results. Sorry guys. That's not how science works.

In the past, the academy has tended to invite only like-minded professionals to speak at its conferences

Guess they finally ran out of such 'professionals'.

open to the public yet "consisted in promoting uncritically what the church teaches to be intrinsically bad

Ah. A "listen but don't think/question" conference. Sounds like self congratulatory back-slapping more than anything else.

Vatican: "Off with their heads for failing to organize a conference that tells us only what we want to hear"
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (4) May 11, 2012
"I learned much from the Order of the Jesuits", said Hitler... "Until now, there has never been anything more grandiose, on the earth, than the hierarchical organization of the Catholic Church. I transferred much of this organization into my own party... I am going to let you in on a secret... I am founding an Order... In my "Burgs" of the Order, we will raise up a youth which will make the world tremble... Hitler then stopped, saying that he couldn't say any more.." Hermann Rauschning, former national-socialist chief of the government of Dantzig: "Hitler m'a dit", (Ed. Co-operation, Paris 1939, pp.266, 267, 273 ss).
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet May 11, 2012
The current Pope has got to go.

And will very soon.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (4) May 11, 2012
The vatican has to go.
Christians have to go.
Muslims have to go.
Jews have to go.
Religion has to go.

Not going to happen soon ...
wavettore
1 / 5 (5) May 19, 2012
Science and Religion should ultimately be able to walk hand in hand.
We should put aside the belief that to accept science means to also reject
faith in God. Instead we should aim for an understanding of God that is not in
contrast with science and while Religion could look beyond any scientific data
no Religion should continue to exist only because it can speculate on the
ignorance or misinformation of the people.
The Progressive Science of Wavevolution reveals the existence of One
God as it was not possible until now for Religions and traditional science.
Wavevolution shows how the energy movement in atoms and in waves is
identical.
Thus, the Creation is revealed by one same movement.
We can now define this behavior as One Law, or One Direction or also One
Will since It remains unchanged from the beginning.
The source of attraction between two opposite and complementary elements is
the same Law or Will that provides for the existence of One Order in the Universe.
All forms of