Archbishop-designate Fisichella, 56, succeeds Bishop Elio Sgreccia, who retired for reasons of age. Bishop Sgreccia turned 80 earlier this month.
The new president was the rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.
Salvatore Fisichella was born in Italy in 1951 and ordained in 1976. He was consecrated a bishop in 1998.
Monsignor Ángel Rodríguez Luño, a member of the academy, told L’Osservatore Romano today that bioethics has gained so much importance in modern society that the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life will now be given the dignity of archbishop.
This title, the monsignor said, reflects “the important service of this institution and the trust that the Pope places in it as an expression of the Church’s commitment to the promotion and defense of the life of every man, created in the image of God.”