Beatification Process Proposed for Jérôme Lejeune

Plan Draws Applause at Pontifical Academy for Life

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 19, 2004 ( As the 10th General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life opened, a cardinal proposed to initiate the process of beatification of the group’s first president, French geneticist Jérôme Lejeune.

Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini’s proposal met with a standing ovation today at the sessions marking the 10th anniversary of the academy’s founding by John Paul II.

In 1959, Lejeune identified Down syndrome as a chromosomal anomaly. He died in 1994.

On Feb. 27, 1999, John Paul II revealed in an address that Lejeune “decidedly wanted this new institution, almost like a spiritual testament, for the safeguarding of human life, foreseeing the growing threats that were gathering on the horizon.”

The general assembly’s opening Mass was presided over by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.

Cardinal Angelini, president emeritus of the health care workers council, referred to Lejeune as a scientist who lived his Christian faith with heroism in his profession, especially in the area of bioethics.

Beginning Friday, officials of the Roman Curia, doctors, and experts in genetics, bioethics, medical ethics, human reproduction, moral theology and psychology will reflect on this year’s topic, “The Dignity of Human Procreation and Reproductive Technologies: Ethical and Anthropological Aspects.” The sessions will continue until Sunday.

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