Pontifical academy defends coronavirus document that did not mention God

CNA Staff, Jul 31, 2020 / 06:53 pm (CNA).- The Pontifical Academy for Life has defended its latest document on the coronavirus crisis following criticism that it did not mention God.

A spokesman said July 30 that the text, “Humana Communitas in the Age of the Pandemic: Untimely Meditations on Life’s Rebirth,” was addressed to “the widest possible audience.”

“We are interested in entering into human situations, reading them in the light of faith, and in a way that speaks to the widest possible audience, to believers and non-believers, to all men and women ‘of good will,’” wrote Fabrizio Mastrofini, who serves in the press office of the pontifical academy, which is led by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.

The spokesman’s comments came in response to a stinging July 28 article in the La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, an Italian Catholic website founded in 2012.

The article, written by the philosopher Stefano Fontana, said that the document did not contain a single “explicit or implicit reference to God.”

Noting that this was the pontifical academy’s second text on the pandemic, he wrote: “Just like the preceding document, this one too says nothing: above all it says nothing about life, which is the specific competence of the pontifical academy, and it also says nothing Catholic, that is to say anything inspired by the teaching of Our Lord.”

He continued: “One wonders who actually writes these documents. From the way these authors write, they seem to be anonymous functionaries of an anonymous institution of sociological studies. Their goal is to coin slogan-phrases in order to capture a snapshot of unspecified processes that are currently underway.”

Fontana concluded: “There is no doubt: it is a document that will please many people among the global elite. But it will displease — if they even read it and understand it — those who want the Pontifical Academy for Life to actually be the Pontifical Academy for Life.”

In response, Mastrofini urged critics to read three texts relating the pontifical academy together. The first was Pope Francis’ 2019 letter “Humana Communitas” to the pontifical academy. The second was the academy’s March 30 note on the pandemic and the third was the most recent document.

He wrote: “As John XXIII said, it is not the Gospel that changes, it is we who understand it better and better. This is the work that the Pontifical Academy for Life is doing, in constant discernment: faith, the Gospel, the passion for humanity, expressed in the concrete events of our time.”

“This is why a debate on the merits of the contents of these three documents, to be read together, would be important. I do not know, at this point, whether philological ‘accounting’ work on how many times a few key words recur in a text is useful.”

In a reply published under Mastrofini’s response, Fontana stood by his criticisms. He argued that the document had reduced the pandemic to “a problem of ethics and the functioning of institutions.”

He wrote: “Any social agency could understand it that way. To resolve it, if it is really only this, there would be no need of Christ, but it would be enough to have medical volunteers, European Union money and a government that is not totally unprepared.”


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  1. Lame defense. I’ve had it with the phony Church bureaucracy and clerical bureaucrats. No church of God would behave this way.

  2. “Concrete events of our time” suggest the greater reality, elicited from concrete situations Amoris Laetitia. The newer new testament alluded to by Archbishop Paglia. Appeal to a “widest” of audiences all inclusive except for practicing Catholics. NGO or Baháʼí. The latter created in Persia 19th century teaches benefit of all religions unity of all peoples. George Soros’ idea of an NGO is disassemble so as to reassemble egalitarianism. Parallel to Vatican efforts for global unity with singular purpose of planetary salvation universal equality. Except for the unborn as insisted by select Academy member Jeffrey Sachs, who fears they might tip that comfortable balance. To the contrary philosopher worth his salt Stefano Fontana rebuts what of God, what of those “who want the Pontifical Academy for Life to actually be the Pontifical Academy for Life?” That is what of those Catholics who actually want eternal life with Christ?

  3. St. Paul tried to reach the widest possible audience too, but he didn’t shy away from proclaiming Christ in so doing.

  4. Considering that this document was authored by Bishop Gay Porn Mural, does it really come as a surprise that it’s not even remotely Christian? The good thing about it is that there are no pictures.

    • “There is a need for reparation for this blasphemous work. And it is blasphemy because of the effeminate depiction of Christ in a context that the artist himself said was meant to be erotic”, said Dr. Thomas Ward, president of the National Association of Catholic Families and former corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life (1P5). Johann the fresco artist said he wanted to show copulation, probably homosexual in the dragnet of ‘fish’. Seemingly forgetful that Christ’s parable warns of the refuse thrown overboard. The message to Church and world is approbation of deviant behavior. That coincides with the elevation to communications prominence of Fr James Martin SJ, homosexual advocate Cardinal Kevin Farrell’s appointment as prefect Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life as well as Camerlengo. We are prone to be harshly critical although these men if we take Christ’s words and Apostolic Tradition seriously are in spiritual jeopardy. They need our prayers. We need to be aware too of the magnitude of what’s occurring in the Church and where this can lead.

  5. We read: “…constant discernment: faith, the Gospel, the passion for humanity, expressed in the concrete events of our time.”

    But, one could hardly expect Paglia to link the concrete pandemic to anything as universal as God, as in Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” wall mural in the Sistine Chapel—-but why did he not hook-up to the wide-audience/concrete message (likewise combined with discrete omission!) as displayed in his very own wall mural at the cathedral church of the Diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia?

    In that cathedral and with a “discernment of faith, the Gospel,” Paglia also “speaks to the “widest possible audience”[widest cross-dressed as “universal”], but then omits the only normal and graced sexual expression possible to members of redeemed “humanity”. Instead, the fantasy-land of a purple-hat cerebral cortex demonstrably immune to the opening and call for discipleship amidst the “concrete events of our time.” The difference between a concrete “passion for humanity” and the uncentered/unbounded passions of a fallen race.

    Said Paglia’s mural artist Cinalli: “The one thing that they didn’t permit me to insert [in the catch-all mural] was the copulation of two people within this net where everything [else !!!] is permitted.” The edifying coherence of natural law in the human substance, as with any mention of God in connection with COVID-19, is “inadmissible.”


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