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Pope names members for renewed Pontifical Academy for Life


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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After broadening the scope of and issuing new statutes for the Pontifical Academy of Life, Pope Francis appointed new members to the advisory body and included scientists, professors and experts in medicine and ethics from both religious and secular backgrounds.

Seven of the members come from the United States and Canada, including Dr. Kathleen M. Foley, a neurologist at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Dr. William F. Sullivan, a Toronto family physician and ethicist, who serves as president of the International Association of Catholic Bioethicists in Canada.

In a statement released following the Vatican's announcement June 13, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the academy, said the appointments of clergy, scientists and medical experts, both religious and secular, will offer the church and the world a "deep and wise vision in the service of human life, especially life that is weakest and most defenseless."

"Among them are a number of non-Catholics, either belonging to other religions or nonbelievers, a sign that the protection and promotion of human life knows no divisions and can be assured only through common endeavor," Archbishop Paglia said.

The appointments included Rabbi Fernando Szlajen, an Argentine rabbi with an extensive background in bioethics, and the Rev. Nigel Biggar, an Anglican priest who teaches pastoral and moral theology at Oxford University.

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