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Catholic Doctors, Ethicists Criticize Pontifical Academy for Life Book

Representatives of the Australian Catholic Medical Association, with the support of several Catholic moral theologians and bioethicists, have criticized a book published by the Pontifical Academy for Life for its lack of understanding of “current science” and specific areas of medicine.

The experts argue that the book spreads “misleading and confusing” theological and medical information that contradicts established Church teachings on contraception and assisted reproductive technologies.

The book in question, Etica Teologica Della Vita (ETV), covers “Theological Ethics of Life: Scripture, Tradition, and Practical Challenges.” The 528-page Italian publication is a synthesis of a seminar sponsored by the academy in 2021.

The critique, published April 23 in The Linacre Quarterly, the official journal of the Catholic Medical Association, describes contradictions between the book and established Church teachings on contraception and assisted reproductive technologies.

The list of authors comprises medical experts, theologians and bioethicists: Elvis Šeman; Eamonn Mathieson; Umberto Villa; Deirdre Little; Randy De Los Reyes Juanta; Franciscan Father Paschal Corby; Father John Fleming; and Brendan Purcell.

Mathieson told CNA they were informed of concerns raised by Italian-speaking experts at Milan’s Scuola Camen, a fertility educational institution.

“Despite the high-level profile of the Pontifical Academy for Life, we could not source any official English translation of the original Italian ETV text. After obtaining an accurate English translation, it became clear that ETV contains confusing and misleading theological and medical arguments,”  Mathieson said.

The authors told CNA in a written interview they emphasized the need for clarity and adherence to Church teachings, especially in bioethics.

“As representatives of the Australian Catholic Medical Association, we felt morally and fraternally obliged to produce a respectful, publicly available, evidence-based, and peer-reviewed corrective response to the ambiguous and problematic statements in ETV.”

This is not the first time the book or the Pontifical Academy for Life have come under fire. An open letter in 2022 pointed out a number of errors. The academy’s current president, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, also sparked controversy in 2023 for his statements about abortion and euthanasia.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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