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Cardinal Elio Sgreccia - © Vatican Media

Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, President Emeritus of Pontifical Academy for Life, Dies in Rome

Would have been 91 on June 6, 2019

The Pontifical Academy for Life announces with sadness, through its President, Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, its Chancellor, Monsignor Renzo Pegoraro, and the Office’s Staff, that this afternoon His Eminence Cardinal Elio Sgreccia went to the House of the Father. He would have been 91 on June 6, 2019.

Since the constitution of the Pontifical Academy, on February 11, 1994, Cardinal Sgreccia was the protagonist and courageous and wise spirit of our institution, supporting and promoting activities of study and protection of human life in face of the challenges posed by technology and biomedical progress.

The Pontifical Academy for Life is grateful for the positive and precious work carried out by Cardinal Sgreccia and for his important contribution on scientific topics and in the academic sector, in benefit of the Magisterium of the Church.  Cardinal Sgreccia always continued to follow the activities of the Pontifical Academy, ever informed on the initiatives underway. He accompanied the work of the Pontifical Academy with discretion and sensitivity, taking part in the Assemblies and meetings with the Pope.

The Pontifical Academy for Life continues on the way traced by the farsightedness of Cardinal Sgreccia, with the same daring in gathering the signs of the times and providing answers to the questions of the meaning of our contemporary humanity.

Cardinal Sgreccia was born in the Marches on June 6, 1928; ordained presbyter in 1952. From 1974 he was Spiritual Assistant of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart.  First docent of Bioethics in the same Athenaeum from 1984, he became a full professor in 1990. Founder and Director of the “Medicine and Morality” Bioethics Review, from 1992 to 2000 he was, in addition, Director of the Institute of Bioethics. Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop on November 5, 1992. From January 3, 2005, to June 17, 2008, he was President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, remaining its President Emeritus. Pope Benedict XVI created him Cardinal in 2010.

In the last days, after recovering at the Gemelli Polyclinic, Cardinal Sgreccia expressed the wish to return home to Rome, where he died peacefully on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at 12:15 pm.

His niece, Professor Palma Sgreccia who helped him and followed him, remembers him as “a man of faith, characterized by great sobriety of life, who always sought to promote the good of all. He was guided in every choice and decision, by the inspiration of the faith and the force of reason.”

Cardinal Elio Sgreccia – Biographical Notes

 Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life, was born in Nidastore of Arcevia, Italy, on June 6, 1928.

Forced to wait until the end of World War II to enter the Seminary, he was ordained a priest on June 29, 1952. He first worked as chaplain to Catholic Action youth groups and as Vice-Rector of his former Seminary.

In 1972, on account of his Bishop’s decision to offer personal ministry to the Faculty of Medicine in the Roman University of the Sacred Heart, he began to be a point of reference for the College community in the field of Ethics and Medicine, eventually serving as Director of the Bioethics Institute of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. From 1990 to 2006 he was a member of the Italian National Bioethics Committee.

On November 5, 1992, he was appointed Titular Bishop of Zama Minor and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family. He was ordained on January 6, 1993.

On June 1, 1994, he was transferred to the Pontifical Academy for Life as Vice-President and on January 3, 2005, he became its President until June 17, 2008.

He was the author of the “Bioethics Manual” and many other publications on health pastoral care, medical ethics, and the family.

Appointed by Pope Francis, he took part in the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 2014) on The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization and in the 14th Ordinary General Assembly on The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World (October 2015).

Benedict XVI created and proclaimed him Cardinal in the Consistory of November 20, 2010, of the Deaconry of Sant’Angelo in Pescheria, he was an Honorary Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life

Cardinal Sgreccia died on June 5, 2019.

About Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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