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Conscience Magazine

Recent Appointments to Pontifical Council for Life Worry Conservative Catholics

August 10, 2017

Pope Francis has appointed Anglican reverend Nigel Biggar, who condones abor­tions up to 18 weeks of preg­nancy, and Rabbi Avraham Sternberg, who supports abortion in some cases, to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Life. While the appointments have not changed the Vatican’s offi­cial position on abortion, some conservative Catholics view the changes as a shift in the previously staunchly antiabortion ideology of the academy’s usual makeup; former academy member Christine Vollmer, for example, describes Reverend Biggar’s appointment as the effective elimination of the institution. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the pontifical council, suggested that Reverend Biggar had been tapped for his work on end-of-life issues, on which his views align more with conserva­tive Catholic positions.