A leading Catholic physician voiced harsh criticism of the continued appointment of “pro-abortion academics, advocates of euthanasia to some degree, or detractors of Humanae Vitae” as members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, lamenting that “someone convinced the Holy Father of it.”

In an article titled “Academy for Life: I can’t remain silent anymore!” published Oct. 19, Spanish doctor José María Simón Castellví, president emeritus of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC), warned that these appointments are “just the opposite of what John Paul II [who founded the Pontifical Academy for Life in 1994] wanted.”

Furthermore, he warned, the appointments go against “what is reasonable for the good of the pilgrim Church on this earth.”

“And worthy pro-life scientists were left out,” he lamented.

Although Castellví doesn’t mention names in his article, the most recent appointments of Pope Francis to the Pontifical Academy for Life were made Oct. 15 and included the atheist and pro-abortion economist Mariana Mazzucato as well as Msgr. Philippe Bordeyne, a theologian critical of St. Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae, on the regulation of birth.

Castellví noted in his article that the feast of St. John Paul II is coming up on Oct. 22, and the saint “in many ways is also called the Pope of Life and the Family.”

“He created the Pontifical Academy for Life in order to study in depth ways to defend human life and its transmission from conception to natural death,” Castellví explained.

The president emeritus of FIAMC noted that the institution “collaborated many times with the academy and we organized joint conferences of a very high scientific level. We also published in high-impact scientific journals.”

“Those were times when, leaving aside legitimate academic or organizational discussions, both its presidents and all its members defended human life as God led them to understand,” he recalled.

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Pontifical Academy for Life’s presidents

In addition, he highlighted that in the Pontifical Academy for Life “there were presidents who knew what DNA was, good obstetrics and the communication of the infallible aspects of doctrine and the laws of nature.”

“Professor Jérôme Lejeune, discoverer of the cause of Trisomy 21 and a defender of the life of the unborn and the dignity of those born with Down syndrome, was the first president,” he noted.

Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia as president of the Pontifical Academy for Life on Aug. 15, 2016.

Castellví stated in his article that “the presidency of a pontifical academy is a very suitable position for a layman or for a woman. Or is it that we don’t have in the Church a woman who is pleasant to deal with, married, with seven children, with a solid training in medicine, who speaks languages and who can go to Rome frequently? Are we that bad?”

“I don’t think it’s good for anyone for women to hold mid-level positions or be named ‘deaconesses,’” he said.

“Yes, it’s true that the fact that a competent cleric is appointed president is not a sin nor even close to it. But it is a potentially missed opportunity for a layman or laywoman to do much-needed work with a certain visibility,” he added.

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The Catholic doctor warned that “induced abortion is an offense against God, mothers, children, and medicine. It’s anti-medicine. It can never be accepted or promoted.”

In this regard, Castellví stressed the importance of revoking the alleged “right” to legal abortion in the United States with the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade in June.

“It’s an open door for protecting life in a very important Western country from various points of view and I believe that it will help us over time to reverse the scourge of abortion, whether the (abortion) lobby likes it or not,” he said.

“It’s not everything and not everything is won, but we should still be celebrating it,” he said.

The Catholic doctor then said that he understands “that we must try to dialogue with those who support the destruction of intrauterine life and attract them to the cause of the culture of life.”

“But they cannot be offered a platform to spread their ideas. They already have too many in the secular world and with an overwhelming majority,” he pointed out.

The academy and contraception

Castellví recalled that St. Paul VI “asked doctors and health care personnel to acquire all the science necessary to, with regard to the transmission of life, give the spouses who consult us wise advice and healthy guidelines that they expect from us with every right.”

“Thus, instead of losing time and health with contraceptives or discussions that are useless, we should help mothers with problems and spouses who need to space a birth for serious reasons,” he said, pointing to the recent controversies caused by a book by the Pontifical Academy for Life that would aim to change the Church’s teaching on contraception.

Help for married couples, explained the Catholic doctor, can be given “using the resources that nature already offers us: women’s infertile periods, which today can be recognized in a simple way, for example with the Billings ovulation method.”

In addition, he pointed out, “the end of life should always be accompanied by the family, a religious minister, and good palliative care.”

“It’s not the same to die as to be killed. We will die from sickness or old age, perhaps from war, but we should never die from a deliberate medical act,” he said.

At the end of his article, Castellví added “an old prayer in support of the Holy Father and his collaborators, one of whom is the president of the Academy for Life. We Christians have to speak but we also have to pray: ‘the Lord protect him, bless him and keep him, make him happy on earth and not deliver him to the fury of his enemies.’”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.