Bishop Sgreccia Is New President of Academy for Life

Sees «Plague of Abortion» Among His Top Concerns

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has named Bishop Elio Sgreccia president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The 76-year-old prelate has been vice president of the academy.

The Pope also designated Father Ignacio Carrasco de Paula as chancellor of the academy.

Father Carrasco, a member of Opus Dei, is a professor of bioethics in the School of Medicine at the University of the Sacred Heart in Rome and a member of the academy.

The new chancellor post substitutes that of the vice president, under a new statute that took effect Jan. 1.

In a message to the members and aides of the academy, Bishop Sgreccia expressed thanks to the Holy Father for his confidence.

Bishop Sgreccia recalled the example of «rigorous fidelity to the truth and the moral commitment toward respect for life, offered by the first two [academy] presidents, professor Jerôme Lejeune and professor Juan de Dios Vial Correa.»

«I trust in the prayer of all the members of the PAV and the many who follow its work,» added the bishop. He expressed his confidence in «be able to serve the cause of life in respect of the new statute and the words that might be required of us by superiors.»

After his appointment, Bishop Sgreccia told Vatican Radio that among his priorities is the «plague of abortion.»

«But there are also other new [plagues],» he said, «such as artificial procreation, cloning, the abuse of human life and of children, and euthanasia.»

«We always have hope that … one can reaffirm the right to life, the recognition of dignity, and the welcoming of the sick and dying,» the prelate said.

John Paul II established the Pontifical Academy for Life in 1994. The academy currently has 51 members, who have expertise in various fields of biomedicine or in the disciplines related to the promotion and defense of life.

The central office of the Vatican-based academy has relocated to Via della Conciliazione 1 (00193 Rome).

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