.- The Pontifical Academy for Life has started a group called “Friends for Life” to expand its network around the world.
“It is aimed at people interested in bioethics, including students, professors, intellectuals, academics, as well as people interested in promoting life,” said Father Scott Borgman, the academy’s coordinating secretary.
“We hope to be more of a backbone for those who promote life and we’re a central think tank for them,” Fr. Borgman explained to CNA June 7.
He described the academy’s role as being more of an academic and research organization than an advocacy group. This emphasis allows the Holy See and Catholic institutions to have access to the latest scientific information on bioethics, he said.
“We take faith and science and put them together – because obviously God gave both of them to us and they never contradict each other – for the defense of human life from the womb to the tomb, from conception until natural death,” Fr. Borgman stated.
The new Friends for Life group is actually the brainchild of a Slovakian priest, Father Martin Kramara, who included a section for the initiative within the website he built for the academy last year.
“As an initiative to spread bioethics and the truth about life, we’ll have the opportunity of learning new, exciting things,” Fr. Borgman said of the group.
He also hopes the academy will receive feedback and support from its Friends for Life members, as well as expand its contacts worldwide.
That expansion could also prove useful to the academy’s Rome office, which has about 10 employees, and its 140 official members around the world.
“They’re the ones that do the meat and potatoes of the work, the experts doing the research and writing on bioethics,” Fr. Borgman said about the official members.
The academy is also helping organize a pro-life weekend at the Vatican on June 15 and 16.
“One of our initiatives is the Holy Father’s call to remember the Gospel of life on this “encyclical ‘Evangelium vitae’” weekend,” stated Fr. Borgman.
“Pilgrims will have the opportunity to attend conferences in different languages, learn more about life and make a public statement” with a candlelight procession down Via della Conciliazione, the street that leads to St. Peter's Basilica, he said.
He explained that the march held on June 15 is to “publicly declare our support for life from conception until natural death.”
For more information on the Friends for Life initiative, visit: http://www.academiavita.org/friends.php.
Alan Holdren contributed to this report from Rome.