Academy for Life Has Increasingly Vital Role, Says Pope

In His Message for the 10th Anniversary of Its Foundation

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 20, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The progress and problems of biomedical sciences indicates how increasingly important the work of the Pontifical Academy for Life is, says John Paul II.



The Pope's sentiments were expressed in a message for the academy's 10th anniversary, celebrated Thursday. The Vatican press office published the text today.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, vice president of the academy, read the message to the participants in the 10th General Assembly, which is meeting until Sunday.

"To study, inform and form on the principal problems of biomedicine and law relating to the promotion and defense of life, especially in the direct relation that the latter have with Christian morality and the directives of the magisterium of life," is the mission for which the Holy Father said he founded the institution.

John Paul II renewed to each of the academy's members "my gratitude for the qualified service that the academy gives to the spread of the 'Gospel of Life.'"

"The doctrinal and pastoral organizations of the Apostolic See are the first to benefit" from the collaboration of the academy "in regard to knowledge and necessary data for the decisions that must be adopted in the realm of the moral norm relative to life," the Holy Father said.

The Pope also told the members of the academy that their "contribution is precious for intellectuals, especially the Catholic, called to be actively present in the privileged seats of cultural elaboration, in the realm of the school and of the university, in the environments of scientific and technical research."

"I thank you for the effort you make to examine specific questions of great interest and to foster dialogue between scientific research and philosophical and theological reflection guided by the magisterium," he added.

Lastly, the Pope mentioned the "task of high responsibility" represented by bioethics, and he encouraged the Academy for Life to continue its service "giving the expected fruits in the field of humanization of biomedical science and of the meeting between scientific research and faith."

The academy, now headed by Juan de Dios Vial Correa, has an executive council composed of five papal academics. The institution has 70 members, appointed by the Pope.

See www.academiavita.org.