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New Life & Family Academy Founded by Former Members of Pontifical Academy for Life

Today, 28 October, an encouraging piece of news comes to us. At the Conference on Humanae Vitae which takes place in Rome, at the Pontifical University St. Thomas Aquinas, and which was organized by the lay organization Voice of the Family, Professor Josef Seifert – a former member of the recently reformed Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL) – presented the newly founded John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family (JAHLF). Seifert is the President of this new lay institution which has been established independently of the Church’s structures. The new Academy aims at continuing the good aspects of the work which was once done by the now-changed Pontifical Academy for Life, as well as by the newly-reformed John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.

This new Academy will work for the defense and the further study of the Church’s traditional moral teaching concerning such important matters as contraception, abortion, family and marriage. It thus comes to us as a new voice at a time where – in Sister Lucia’s words – “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.”

Several members of the Board of the new Academy are loyal and charitable critics of Pope Francis, such as: Professor Josef Seifert himself; Professor Roberto de Mattei; and Professor Claudio Pierantoni. Additionally, several members of the Academy are former members of the Pontifical Academy for Life which has been so gravely changed by Pope Francis: next to Professor Seifert, there is Judie Brown (president of the American Life League), Dr. Thomas Ward (founder of the U.K.’s National Association of Catholic Families), Mercedes Wilson, (president of Family of the Americas); Christine Vollmer (president of the Latin American Alliance for the Family); Dr. Philippe Schepens (General Secretary of the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life); and Professor Luke Gormally (a former research professor at Ave Maria School of Law). Some of these loyal defenders of life are, in fact, founding members of the PAL, which was founded in 1994. Additional members of the new Academy are Professor Carlos A. Casanova (Universidad Santo Tomás de Chile) and John-Henry Westen (LifeSiteNews).

In his introduction to this new Academy at today’s Humanae Vitae Conference, Professor Seifert said :

In October 2017, a new JOHN PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND THE FAMILY (JAHLF) has been set up to serve the same goals as the original Pontifical Academy for Life, founded 1994 by Pope St. John-Paul II for the interdisciplinary study and defense of human life in all its stages. [footnote: By the motu proprio Vitae Mysterium on February 11, 1994.] Already in 1981, Pope John Paul II had founded a Pontifical Institute of Marriage and Family, to study the cradle of human life: marriage and the family. JAHLF will take up the study both of human life and of marriage and the human family.

It has been founded by a few former members of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) including a former Professor of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.

In additional comments, Professor Seifert points out that, ever since the publication of the papal document Humanae Vitae in 1968, there have been many Catholic moral theologians working at putting a doubt to the question as to whether acts such as abortion, contraception, or homosexuality are any more to be called “intrinsically evil acts,” which are wrong under all circumstances. As Seifert explains:

Between Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor many, indeed a majority of moral theologians, have promoted this so-called ethical proportionalism that may justify any actions if the sum-total of goods that follow from them seem a lesser evil than any alternative course of actions.

Professor Seifert makes it very clear that the new Life and Family Academy will not accept these false moral theories. He states, as follows:

Thus, against all  social or historical pressures of the spirit of our time that wants us to water down or to deny entirely the truth that there intrinsically evil acts, we in JAHLF never want to give in to such pressure and false teachings. Also we know that we should take into account in our words and writings the changed moral taste of our time, in order to reach those who live in error, but we know even more certainly that we must never compromise the truth by adapting our moral judgments to the ethical opinions dominant today, if these are false. Rather we should do everything in our power that a society that deviates most grievously from the eternal moral truth adapts itself to truth. For us, taking into account the change of social climate in which we live can only mean that we must seek new ways to make men understand and live the same old, nay eternal truths that can never change. We must adapt people to the truth, not the truth to people.

Moreover, Professor Seifert gives us even more encouraging words concerning this new voice and witness of truth when he says:

Our task in this Academy is exactly this: rejecting any of the horrible evils and errors which shape modern society and have even entered the doors of the sanctuary of the Church, by the clear exposition of, and by living, the truth about human life and the family. This entails also calling abortion murder and not interruption or termination of pregnancy, abstaining from dishonest names that obscure the truth. [emphasis added]

While thus becoming a witness for the goodness and defense of life, marriage and the family, the new Academy also points to the importance of considering each of these aspects in light of eternal life. Professor Seifert says:

The JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY likewise does not restrict its understanding of human life to mere biological human life. It recognizes and affirms the reality of the soul of man that stands at the origin of human life. Therefore, JAHLF also occupies itself, quite generally speaking, with the metaphysical and anthropological foundations of ethical truth. [emphasis added]

As Seifert explains, the new Academy will “likewise explore the ultimate value of human life residing in eternal life” and it will thus counter a materialist world-view which merely discusses these matters on natural terms. Yet, when we consider sinful acts – such as divorce and abortion – as mere natural evils, we omit that these acts also threaten the life of sanctifying grace in our souls, thus endangering the salvation of souls. As the Austrian philosopher puts it, while considering

the relation of human life to God and eternal life, and their link to ethical questions such as euthanasia, infertility treatment, artificial insemination, etc., this Academy will in like manner address those moral dimensions of human and medical action that can only be understood when relating human life, moral life, and eternal life to God. [emphasis added]

The President of the new academy highlights that non-Catholic experts may also be invited as members, but that the foundation has to be the Catholic moral teaching based on Revelation, as well as the natural law which is recognizable by natural reasoning. Topics will also include the brain death debate, the moral and spiritual dimension of palliative and hospice care for the dying, and “those ways of caring for the old, the sick, and the dying that are linked to religious dimensions of the moral life revealed through Christ, especially in the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount and the sacraments.”

Let us thus welcome with joy this new voice of Moral Truth as presented at today’s Humanae Vitae Conference, as graciously permitted by Voice of the Family. Let us end here with the final words of Professor Josef Seifert’s longer presentation of the new Academy:

The Academy’s aim is to clarify, to teach, and to spread that part of the truth about man and about God that serves human life and the natural family, and, through serving these, serve and glorifies God.

61 thoughts on “New Life & Family Academy Founded by Former Members of Pontifical Academy for Life”

  1. I wish membership was restricted to Catholics only. This would send a strong message about the Truth of the Catholic Church being the Arc of Salvation.

    • Can. 1373 A person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.

      • I prefer to say: Let’s hope that God will very soon call his Holiness to the eternal reward he deserves for the great deeds he accomplished in upholding the tenets and dogmas of the True Catholic Faith during his unforgetable pontificate.

      • I didn’t see how James’s comment can be seen as inciting animosities nor hatred. He didn’t make accusations against the pope, he didn’t try to instigate an argument about the pope. He just said he hopes the pontificate ends soon. If some person whose opinion is neutral were to feel incited to hate or animosity by such a comment than he or she is extremely weak minded.

        • It is a very serious thing to call good evil, and evil good. If correction of others–the pope included–is a form of hatred, as alleged above, then what is charity? The comment to which you have (justly) responded demonstrates exactly how serious is the crisis precipitated by the Bergoglians. What looks like an inside-the-Beltway battle about Communion for a small handful of divorced and “remarried” Catholics actually constitutes nothing short of the inversion of the entire moral order.

      • That would be Francis.

        He himself incites hatred against the Apostolic See by spitting on Tradition and the writings of his predecessors.

      • Oh please.
        God is being mocked and cast aside by these men.
        The Church is in schism, despite the absence of anyone man enough to say it.
        The flock has been scattered.
        Every day the evil in the world grows, souls are being lost to eternal Hellfire. People are suffering.
        And you are here to…point a bony finger at one man who speaks for millions when he says he wants this evil to end soon.

      • Yea, and Thomas Aquinas says that if a superior, or a prelate, or even the Pope, publicly sins against the faith, or practically denies it by his failure to defend it, then his subjects have the right and sometimes even the obligation to rebuke him.

        Pope Francis is constantly sinning against the faith. He favours sacrilegous communions for the civilly divorced and remarried and he makes it so ridiculously easy to get annulments that today the concept “annulment” is almost a synonym for “Catholic divorce”. He favours homosexualism and appoints Archbishops who protect and encourage this perversion. He feeds the Catholics in China to the regime and makes political deals with a false communist church. He never defends any doctrine or dogma, and denounces faithful Catholics who do as rigid bigots. He offers forgiveness for sexual sins without requiring repentance and amendment of life, and refuses to condemn the big evils of abortion and contraception.

        What kind of Pope is this? Has he, during his entire pontificate, ever said anything really Catholic? No! His trade mark is Neo-Marxist and leftist blah blah and omitting the message of the Gospel. If a person who didn’t know Francis being Pope read his public addresses, he couldn’t tell from them what religion this guy belongs to. The man doesn’t have a Catholic bone in his body. He helps the modernist archenemies of the Church, who want to turn Catholicism into a branch of Secular Humanism. His Ecumenism is so broad and comprehensive that the only ones he can’t stand are traditional Catholics, because they are in his way in his project of destruction.

        • “Has he, during his entire pontificate, ever said anything really Catholic?”

          He said and did alot of CHRISTIAN things. It seems, you mean something else by “Catholic” than this.

      • I am afraid the word ‘hatred’ has lost its original meaning. Anybody who is offended by something is now deemed to be the victim of ‘hatred’ and a ‘hate crime’ has been committed. Is this not nominalism run mad?

      • Have you even heard of St. Paul?

        I wonder that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel. Which is not another, only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.

      • The only animosity or hatred incited against from the Apostolic See comes from none other than Francis, himself. The anger many of us feel towards him is precisely because he does not speak or act as a pope should speak or act. When the enemies of the faith are given ammunition to use against faithful Catholics (“who am I to judge”), people are justifiably angry. When faithful clerics are ignored or removed, and unfaithful ones are praised, promoted, and continually given a platform to propagate their evil ideologies, people are justifiably angry.

        I knew something was terribly wrong with Pope Francis from the first moment I saw him, and thankfully I know I’m not alone. For a long time, however, everyone around me seemed to think he was just the greatest pope ever. They marveled at his “humility,” and at his concern for “the poor.” It was like they weren’t even talking about the same person as the Francis I was seeing. It was insanity! One Peter Five, plus a few other groups called things as they saw them, and they helped preserve my faith. In light of the Canon that you quoted, Pope Francis would do well to remember the parable of the unforgiving servant, who was shown great mercy yet refused to extend that same mercy to others. (Mt. 18:20-35)

    • There is hope. Cdl Brandmueller was defending Humanae Vitae on Oct.28,2017:
      “In this Encyclical, Paul VI brought temporary closure to a series of doctrinal affirmations on the matter of contraception, instigated by Pius XI in Casti connubii and continued by Pius XII and John XXIII. These were ultimately taken up, developed and deepened by John Paul II,” he said.
      “The Conference inaugurated today has called for this renewed reception, adoption and more profound transmission of the truly prophetic teaching of Paul VI in the year 2017,” he added.

  2. Folks, Humanae Vitae is going to be trashed! This has been abundantly clear since the moment that Laudato Si’ was published. This joke of an encyclical on air conditioning (among other things) made it perfectly clear that Francis has bought into the whole “sustainability” movement and a fundamental plank of the “sustainability” movement is that there are too many people! Remember the Pope’s flippant remark during one of his aerial press conferences that we “don’t have to breed like rabbits”?? Yeah, so do I.

    Humanae vitae is on a death watch and it will be gutted.

    • Fact is, there is poverty, hunger and war and a correlation of these with high population growth. It might be true that the planet could feed up to 15 billion people, but that would likely require the massive use of genetic engineering and full redistribution of wealth on a global scale – in other words, a sort of communist world dictatorship. And you would have about 10-20% on your plate to eat of what you have today while working 150 to 200% of what you work today. Of course this will never happen, instead people, nations, races, cultures, religions would fight over the ressources: which means alot of (more) war (than we experience today).
      And yes, at a certain point in the future all the sources for crude oil in the ground will have dried up. At the moment, the industrialized nations consume about 90% of the worlds oil production. The same is true for other energy sources. How can the world sustain an increase in 500-700%, if we’d just distribute the same wealth we enjoy today with the CURRENT population of earth – let alone 15 billion people?
      And even if it happened, if it was possible, at a certain point the physical maximum capacity of the planet would be definately reached. Wherever this maximum capacity lies. 7 billion, 15 billion, 100 billion, 1000 trillion people… do you think there are unlimited ressources, there is unlimited space on earth? So there is NO alternative than to stop “breeding like rabbits” whatever happens. There is NO alternative at some point whatsoever.
      You do realize that, with all the death and massacre in Iraq and Syria in the last… 15 years… the population yet increased there, unemployment skyrocketed, fanatism and radicalism increased. The next “Islamic State” will be worse then the last.


      • Hey, tell us; What is the proper number of people for planet earth?

        Be specific.

        What number is sufficient and not to be exceeded?

      • Correlation does not equal cause and effect. This entire comment is one long run-on paraphrase of the Gates/Soros/Sachs etc mouthpieces of the UN. If you try to be a bit more original and state your position from a sincere belief, you may inspire some interest. As it is, your lengthy comment is merely repetitive.

  3. I’m utterly delighted to learn this. Interesting that the new Academy is founded and led by lay people. This is certainly the way to go. There will no doubt be discreet but fruitful inter-links with various members of the clergy and of the hierarchy, but it’s a lay intitution, which cannot be silenced and dismissed by erring clerical authorities. The Truth will out!

    • Well, sir, if the philosophical “fruits” of this institutions contradict the teachings of the Vicar of Christ, the See of St. Peter, then they are either heretic or apostatic in nature, and thus CAN easily (and must actually) be dismissed and even silenced, as heresy leads to excommunication.
      Please dont tell me that Francis is the heretic. He is only exercising his rights as pope. Amoris Laetitia is well within the logical limits of a grammatical meaning and reading of the previous Catholic tradition and scripture – and only that is, what is – according to Catholic tradition – protected by infallability.

  4. Excellent work! There’s only one effective way to stay Catholic and to do Catholic things today: stay away from the tentacles of the Church’s hierarchy. Francis and his liberal henchmen will do everything in their power to destroy faithful ministries and institutions in the Church. It is high time to erect Catholic organizations that remain outside the official Church’s jurisdiction.

      • What do you prefer? To be schismatic with Christ on your side, or to be in union with Rome and the devil?

        You are confusing things, because in reality this matter has nothing to do with being schismatic.

        In the first place, being obedient to Rome doesn’t imply being obedient to every whimsical idea that comes from the Pope or is made Vatican policy. It means obedience to the Magisterium. Nobody is more obedient to the Magisterium than traditionalists, in particular the SSPX.

        In the second place, schism implies the erection of a new church. This is obviously not what I propose. My point is simply that traditionalists should adopt the policy of keeping their organizations, funds and properties outside reach of the grabbing claws of the Roman authorities, or the scroundels working for them here.

        In our days we are in the sad situation that the entire hierarchy of the Church is sick and infected with the most blatant heresies and false practices on all levels. A person who subjects himself to such hierarchs as for example Cupich, Marx, Schonborn, Maradiaga, Wuerl, &c, &c, and follows their teachings, delivers his soul to spiritual criminals and is in acute danger of ending up in hell with them.

        Church history gives us many examples of orthodox men who fought with great determination against the hierarchs in the Church and their wicked policies.

        • I do understand your argument. But, respectfully, I think you are mistaken.

          For example, the SSPX is not obedient to the newer Magisterium since Vaticanum II. But Vaticanum II was also a valid council – whether it called itself pastoral council or dogmatic council doesnt matter. Christ said, you – in the Catholic understaning: the Apostles and theirs successors – through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, will not err, if you agree on a specific matter in concordance. The name is of no consequence.

          And regarding obedience to Magisterium. Surely, if the Magisterium of 1550 must be obeyed, the Magisterium of 2017 must too. The true question is, if the newer Magisterium contradicts the older when read in logical rigorosity – not only judged by the exegesis or interpretation of previous centuries. The Holy Spirit, as I understand the Catholic theology, worked through for example the evangelists or the council fathers, but – as Paul admitts in his epistles – they were not always and in every aspect fully enlightened about every meaning of what they were receiving. So this leaves room for further theological development of the later Magisterium to address e.g. problems of the given time or age it lives in. In this concrete case: Does every possible logically stringent interpretation of Amoris Laetitia contradict every possible logically stringent interpretation of e.g. Familiaris Consortio? The answer is no. Not even a very liberal interpretation of Amoris Laetitia contradicts Familiaris Consortio – if FC is also read in a very liberal way. It is logically possible to distinguish “discernment” from “situation ethics”, that is, you can (and even must, to be correct) define it differently. Thus follows, that (the admittance of remarried poeple to the Eucharist in some cases, through the process of) discernment is not prohibited by FC. Nor is it by Paul, when he writes of the danger for the unrepentent sinner to eat and drink his/her own judgement, as he describes the general case, not the specific one in discernment. Discernment shares SOME of the necessary properties of situationalism, yes, but not all logically sufficient properties, to be called the same thing, in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason (, which – as I understand – was fully accepted and supported by e.g. Thomas Aquinas. (I’m no expert for Thomism, I admit, not at all, but I know Thomas was an Aristotelian, Thomism is build on the philosophy of Aristotle, and the principle of sufficient reason IS a center piece of his philosophy and all logics)

          This also works the other way around: Francis might have a very liberal interpretation of his “own” teachings, but whether the Holy Spirit intended exactly this interpretation, is open to debate. In any way, AL is as much valid Magisterium as FC. If you question the Holy Spirit in AL then the next person questions FC and then the gospels, with as much legitimacy.

          It has been written, that Francis is a Modernist, a Hegelian (which is also called [a form of] Historism). But in truth, if the SSPX believes that a Catholic dogma can only be understood by the meaning earlier generations attributed to it, or even the authors themselves, and not by the reasonable and logical meaning of the text itself (which the Catholic Church assures come from the Holy Spirit), then the SSPX is advocating (german) Historism itself. However, maybe not the variant of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich HEGEL, but that of Friedrich Carl von SAVIGNY.

    • Aliquantillus, I total agree with you. I have seen many independent Catholic schools beginning to pop up, not to mention faithful homeschools. Is this what the beginning of schism looks like?

  5. Back on topic.
    I’m so appreciative of the men and women who are founding this organization, or rather, continuing the work of the organization. God bless every one of them for doing this.

  6. I like the idea of this, and wish it well, but I think this is a mistake: “The President of the new academy highlights that non-Catholic experts may also be invited as members.”

  7. What an indictment of and a humiliation for Pampas Pete: but naturally he’ll ignore it. The narcissist always has a very thick skin.

  8. Congratulations.

    It has been an excellent initiative and good news for the truly Catholic Church.

    But, I’m afraid, there will be some tantrum and intent of retaliation from the Vatican.

  9. Wow!

    Praise God for this!!

    I particularly like the timing.

    We are going to need something like this in place when the current crisis come to full fruit.

    This is action in the state and sphere of these men’s lives. I am encouraged!

  10. The initial basis of all moral teaching comes with the creation of physical biological creatures by Almighty God who, in His wisdom, created virtually all multicellular creatures in two complementary forms or sexes, male and female, whether plant or animal.
    In doing this He decreed that the SOLE purpose of sexual conjugation is the propogation of the species with the command to “be fruitful and multiply.” All of the natural order testifies to this pupose and the command that governs it. Only man has defied the natural law by seeking pleasure alone as the purpose for his sexuality. The command given by God precludes any action which defeats this command. Thus, contraception in any form is intrinsically evil because it prevents the fruit of orocreation. Likewise, abortion and infanticide are intrinsically evil because they destroy the fruit of procreation. And homosexual activity is intrinsically evil because such activities are incapable of producing procreative fruit. ANY violation of any command guven by God Himself are always and everywhere and under all circumstances intrinsically evil. The culpability for engaging in an intrinsically evil act may be mitigated such as the victim of rape. That, however, does not change the evilness of the act. It nerely reduces or nullifies the participant’s responsibility for the act’s commission. Therefore, for anyone to declare any intrinsically evil act as merely oroportionally evil or sinful is in grave error.


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