The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, has exposed his contempt for life yet again. This time, he’s publicly endorsing assisted suicide while making a mangle of the Church’s moral authority.
First, Paglia channels his inner Mario Cuomo by stating, “Personally, I would not practice suicide assistance, but I understand that legal mediation may be the greatest common good concretely possible under the conditions we find ourselves in.” If the Archbishop were American, I would swear he sounds like he’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
But Paglia’s endorsement of assisted suicide isn’t the real problem; his anti-life views are just a symptom of his anti-Catholic morality. He dismisses the Church’s teaching authority by stating that the Church is not a “dispenser of truth pills.” Then he states,
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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The contribution of Christians is made within the different cultures, neither above — as if they possessed an a priori given truth — nor below — as if believers were the bearers of a respectable opinion, but disengaged from history.
“As if they possessed an a priori given truth?”—that’s exactly what the Church possesses! While Paglia is trying to sound humble, he’s actually expressing supreme arrogance. For he is assuming that the Church comes up with her own morality, as if it is man-made. Yet all that the Church possesses—including her moral teaching—has been given to her as a gift from above. Its source is God Himself, Who is Himself “a priori.”
In Paglia’s view of how the Church’s teachings comes about, she must interact with society to adapt her morality according to the latest findings of (pseudo-)science and the latest cultural fads. It is not given to her by God, through both reason (natural law) and revelation. Thus, even the command “thou shalt not kill” is up for debate and discussion and “development.” Such a view upends all of Church teaching; it is no longer founded on a rock, but on sand.
Paglia goes on to state, “Between believers and non-believers there is a relationship of mutual learning.” When it comes to settled moral teachings, this is simply false. Catholics have nothing to learn from non-Catholics, for to suggest this is to suggest that Catholics should no longer learn from God Himself but instead from fallen man. Again, it is arrogance masquerading as humility.
Of course, the great scandal here is that the anti-life, anti-Catholic Paglia is the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Every day he remains in office diminishes the moral authority of that academy as well as the moral authority of the pope who oversees it.