During a nationally televised August 26th Italian roundtable discussion of upcoming general elections in that country, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, was asked whether in his view abortion would be an issue in the elections. He replied that because the law that legalized abortion has become a “pillar” in Italian society, none of the competing parties has made abortion part of its platform. His intention was to simply state that the law is now entrenched in the Italian legal system, not to express a positive view of it.
He did go on to point out, however, that the same law that legalized abortion in Italy also firmly supports motherhood and all that society can do to counteract the dramatic decline in birth rates and the resulting lack of support for the elderly that the country is experiencing. He stated that, sadly, all too little attention has been given to those provisions of Italian law and that time to do so is running out.
It is regrettable that recent media reports of Archbishop Paglia’s comments not only focus on a misunderstanding of the word “pillar” in a unique context but more importantly they pass over all that he has spoken and written about the defense of and support for life from its beginning until its end, and in all its circumstances—the unborn, growing children, abuse victims, prisoners, especially those condemned to die, helpless women, migrants and the elderly. Also generally ignored by negative commentators is his, and the Academy’s, tireless efforts to oppose euthanasia, to foster the adoption of palliative care, and to promote greater, and loving, care for the elderly.
Further evidence of his, and the Academy’s commitment to life can be seen in the Archbishop’s participation in and support for such initiatives as the recent gathering sponsored by the Italian Movement for Life in May.