Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the president of The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC), John M. Haas, Ph.D., S.T.L., K.M., to the Governing Council of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
The five-year papal appointment was announced today on the NCBC website and by the Vatican.
The Academy for Life chose to make the announcement on June 22, the feast of the martyrs Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More, who “gave their lives for principles which are very much still actual and which are deeply relevant for the work of the Academy in the defense of human life,” NCBC noted.
Dr. Haas was appointed as an Ordinary Member of the Academy by the Pope in 2006.
Responding to his appointment, Dr. Haas said, “I am deeply honored and humbled with this appointment from the Holy Father and pray that I, with my colleagues at The National Catholic Bioethics Center, may make some real and lasting contributions to the building up of a Culture of Life worldwide.”
The Pontifical Academy for Life was founded by Pope John Paul II with his Motu Proprio "Vitae Mysterium" in 1994. Members of the Academy work to study problems of bio-medicine and law relating to the promotion and defense of life, particularly the direct connection those issues have with Christian morality and the teachings of the Magisterium.
The first president of the academy was noted French physician, geneticist, and Servant of God Dr. Jérôme Lejeune, the researcher and defender of life who discovered the chromosomal cause of Down syndrome.
While the Academy for Life is autonomous, it works closely with the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers and other departments of the Roman Curia committed to defending life.
The Governing Council of the Pontifical Academy for Life consists of eight academy members, including the president, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, and the chancellor, Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula of Spain, who is a physician and moral theologian.