In October 2017, a new JOHN PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND THE FAMILY (JAHLF) was founded to serve the same goals as the original Pontifical Academy for Life, founded by Saint Pope John-Paul II for the interdisciplinary study and defense of human life in all its stages.
INSTITUTION AND AIMS
PROOEMIUM ON THE HISTORY, NATURE AND GOALS OF THE JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY (JAHLF)
In October 2017, a new JOHN PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND THE FAMILY (JAHLF) was founded to serve the same goals as the original Pontifical Academy for Life, founded by Saint Pope John-Paul II for the interdisciplinary study and defense of human life in all its stages. (motu proprio Vitae Mysterium on February 11, 1994.) Already in May 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.
The founders of the John Paul II Academy are a group of former members of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV). Jointly with a change of the statutes of the PAV effected by Pope Francis in 2016, it had pleased His Holiness to dismiss all members of the previous PAV in order to create a new Academy for Life. Some of the members of the original PAV have been reappointed in the new PAV for terms of maximally 5 years, others not.
Those members who have not been reappointed, most of whom have been regular PAV members (ad vitam), and, having made a commitment for life to promote the lofty goals of the PAV established by Saint Pope John Paul II in order to unfold the splendor of truth about life and family, feel a strong calling to live their commitment to life and family by founding this new lay Academy.
Although the founding members and most other members of the JAHLF are believing Catholics who have been deeply committed to the PAV and to its goals as formulated by Saint John Paul II, (expressed in its original statutes and Oath), and wish to render through this new Academy a service to the Catholic Church’s Magisterium and to the Catholic faithful, the ACADEMY itself is a lay, non-governmental organisation that will remain independent of civil and religious organisations.
The Catholics united in this new Academy are fully faithful to the authentic Magisterium and perennial doctrine of the Catholic Church. They also fully acknowledge that the teaching authority of the Catholic Church does not only extend to the revealed truths that no man could know without God’s Revelation and without faith, but also to many metaphysical, anthropological, and ethical truths open to the understanding of human reason. Thus, while Catholic members of this Academy fully submit, by an obedience of faith, to the entire deposit of faith and moral doctrine that the Church presents to us, they understand that the “wing”, as Fides et Ratio says, to rise up to know and to explain the eternal anthropological and ethical truths that belong to the natural law and its foundation, is human reason more than faith. The Popes themselves emphasized this. Therefore, Pope John Paul II directed an appeal to philosophers and to men and women of all branches of human knowledge to explain the moral truths the Church teaches, by means of human reason and thus make them better understood by Catholics as well as by all men and women of good will.
For this reason, the Academy also stands open to non-Catholics. While the Academy welcomes theologians, priests, bishops and Cardinals and hopes that they also will shed light on Church teachings and those truths about marriage, family, and life that are known only by faith, the anthropological and ethical issues that will be the main concern of our new Academy are more the domain of RATIO than of FIDES.
For this reason, faith, let alone the specific faith of a Catholic, is neither necessary nor sufficient to gain access to those truths the Academy seeks to clarify. On the one hand, many ancient pagans, such as Hippocrates, Socrates and Cicero, and many members of other religions, gained deep insights into these truths. On the other hand, many Catholics, even very deeply believing ones, commit grave ethical errors and fall into confusion when it comes to the issues JAHLF wants to clarify. Let us add that many Catholics, among them numerous Catholic moral theologians, openly reject the natural law as well as the Magisterium of the Church when it expounds the natural law through solemn teachings, such as those formulated in Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, or Veritatis Splendor.
The JAHLF adheres to all these truths, but seeks to better understand and explain them by means of human reason.
Another reason why the Academy’s members cannot content themselves with adhering to moral truths declared by the Magisterium is the following one. Many truths about human life and death have not yet been declared by the Church. Think, for example, of “brain death” definitions used to extract organs, on which the Church has not yet made any official declaration, but only unofficial pronouncements, some of which contain serious problems. Hence the investigations of this Academy extend far beyond those parts of the natural law that have been declared by the Catholic Church.
Thus, the condition of becoming a member of this Academy is not the Catholic faith but the recognition of the fundamental truths about human life, the human family and the natural moral law, both those explicitly taught by the Church in Humanae Vitae and other documents, and those not so taught. These truths can be understood by all men, because these laws are inscribed into every man’s heart. All members of this Academy shall explicitly consent to these truths by taking an Oath. In the light of this, the Academy should explain these truths that are part of the natural law in terms of human experience and human reason, by means of philosophy. Where it is possible, it should also use medical science, psychiatry, psychology, demography and others to confirm the possibility of living in accordance with these truths and to show concrete methods of applying these truths in real life, for example by teaching how, always for serious reasons, couples may morally and can successfully use the infertile days of the wife for marital intercourse.
In other words, we should not be content with simply holding and expressing these truths by obedience of faith to moral teachings that the Church has declared dogmatically, or through its ordinary authentic magisterium.
The service the JAHLF intends to present to the Church will go beyond a study and explanation of the most important anthropological and ethical truths about human life, human death, and about the family. It will extend to overcoming those grave philosophical and ethical errors that infect many state laws, hospitals and universities, including schools of Catholic theology that divorce their ethics not only from religious faith but also from human RATIO, and from those truths of logic and philosophy without which a “pure faith” degenerates into irrationality that expresses itself in the formula that 2×2 = 5.
The JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY 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.
For this reason, the John Paul II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND THE FAMILY will likewise explore the ultimate value of human life residing in eternal life and in this respect will also integrate the highest truths about man as seen by Socrates and Plato. In order to consider 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. These dimensions of ethics are also in principle open to unaided human reason. They are lost sight of not only in a materialist and evolutionist, but also in an atheist world-view that considers man the supreme lord over his own actions. Consequently, this Academy will also reject many actions intended to produce or conserve life, but which offend the natural law, such as those directed towards generating human life in the laboratory, or life-saving transplants that kill the organ-donor (falsely declared “brain dead”) thus ignoring the rights of the Creator over human life and death. These and all other immoral means of generating or manipulating human life bring guilt on human souls and endanger their eternal life.
Regarding the transcendent dimensions of human life and death, however, the Academy will not exclusively rely on human philosophy, because only God could reveal, and has revealed to us, the most important truths about eternal life and resurrection. Rather, in as much as divine revelation is necessary to illumine the supreme mysteries of human life and family, the John Paul II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND THE FAMILY will also draw on the divine wisdom about eternal life that the Catholic Church teaches and that is unattainable by human reason alone.
For this reason, it will also have theologians as members who can shed light on the specifically religious truths regarding these matters. The same applies for the investigation of 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.
As this Academy will explore the transcendent dimensions of the value and good of human life, it will also speak, from a philosophical and theological point of view, of the moral and spiritual dimensions of death and dying, often ignored in palliative medicine and hospital care. 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 these, to serve and glorify God. For this purpose, and in the face of false theological, philosophical and scientific opinions, and the many assaults against life and family inside and outside the Catholic Church, the ACADEMY seeks to appraise the effects of biomedical, social and health developments, together with the impact of religious, political and philosophical truth and erroneous ideas on life and the natural family. Special attention will be paid to the critique of all kinds of materialist and evolutionist metaphysics that seek to replace the knowledge of the free, creative and personal God, who is the source of human life and the human soul, by materialist and evolutionary theories of human life that see its origin in molecules, necessity, and chance. Such a philosophy or atheist religion denies the most important truths about the human person, and the dignity of man created in the image and likeness of God. It will also inevitably apply eugenic or transhumanist idols and errors to bioethics and undermine morality without even admitting properly ethical categories.
Obviously, the ACADEMY will also critically examine anti-life and gender ideology and their roots, as well as refute the claims of the many false and contrived “human rights” that have nothing to do with, or even negate, true human rights. A particularly widespread and dangerous case of such a pseudo-human right is the alleged “human right of each woman” to contraception and abortion, propagated so vociferously by many politicians and international organizations of population control world-wide.
In this context, the JAHLF will also carefully and critically investigate the concept and false interpretations of “reproductive health” and other false notions of health that lead to countless murders of the unborn and to many other evils.
Being dedicated to the defense of innocent human life (and prescinding here from the complex issues of whether direct, or applying the principle of double effect, only indirect killing in self-defense, war and capital punishment, are legitimate), JAHLF will likewise address the question of biological human death, once so simple and clear, but now a major object of dispute with tremendous ethical consequences, depending on how human death is being explained. Regarding this, particular attention will be given to a critical examination of the notion and application of “brain death”.
“Brain death” definitions, used to extract organs, contain a number of errors about which several members of this Academy have reflected and written much. “Brain death” is a deceptive manipulation of the word “death” that was chiefly invented to extract healthy organs from still-living persons, (babies, children and young adults), because vital organs from a truly dead body (cadaver) are not suitable for transplantation.
John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI clearly taught, and it belongs also to natural law, that “you must not kill one life to save another”.
“As long as the soul has not departed from the body, the person is alive”. One cannot decide that a person is truly dead while the heart is beating with circulatory and/or respiratory functions remaining actually, or potentially (for example, in a frozen state) intact.
The ACADEMY will scientifically, philosophically and theologically explore the overwhelming multitude of reasons why the identification of so-called “brain death” with actual human death, or with its criterion, is so frequently erroneous, and why those organ explantations, experimentations, or other actions which ignore this truth, can be considered intrinsically wrong. The Academy hopes that, for example, regarding “brain death” definitions and explantations of organs, the results of its research will become part of Catholic teaching. The truth about “brain death” and many other anthropological and ethical truths have not yet been declared in any Church document, but pertain to the respect for every human life and to the transmission and protection of human life in Marriage and Family. Therefore, the ACADEMY sees one of its important tasks to provide the rational, ethical, and anthropological foundations for future magisterial documents about death and transplantation medicine, involving the hard work of human RATIO and science animating this Academy.
To ensure that all members of the JAHLF are united in these goals, all its members will take the Oath of the Servants of Life and Family, in conformity with the teachings of Natural Law, which coincide largely with the teachings of the authentic Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.
There are two good reasons for speaking of a large and not a complete coincidence between Catholic moral teaching and the natural law: 1. Inasmuch as Catholic moral teaching about life and family includes many ethical truths that refer to the reality and need of the sacrament of marriage and others, it goes beyond natural law and does not coincide with it. 2. On the other hand, in as much as countless parts of natural ethics have not been expressed or codified in Church teachings, natural law goes beyond the (already formulated) contents of the moral teachings of the Church.
To achieve all its aims, the ACADEMY shall:
a. Conduct a General Assembly each year on a topic of specific relevance, which shall be thoroughly studied through a multi-disciplinary approach.
b. Study laws in force or proposed in the various countries, the aims of international health-care policies and the main currents of thought which have an impact on the contemporary culture of life and the anti-culture of death, and on the family;
c. Collaborate with national and international civil orreligious organizations that protect, preserve and defend human life and the family;
d. Promote coordination amongst all those who, irrespective of religious affiliation, defend human life and family in accordance with authentic natural law, human rights and the teaching of the Catholic Church.
e. The ACADEMY will examine the latest scientific, biomedical, juridical, political, philosophical, and anthropological findings and observe charitable, pastoral and welfare initiatives in the light of the Natural Law, as it is in large part splendidly and clearly, albeit not exhaustively, expounded in Catholic moral teaching. It will also examine and identify geopolitical measures emanating from governmental and non-governmental bodies, which, by lobbying or financial pressure, seek to suborn national governments.
f. Examine critically theological ecclesiastic pronouncements and opinions that contradict, or seem to contradict, moral truth and the authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
g. Examine ethical issues, on which the Catholic Church has not yet declared itself officially, such as “brain death” definitions and their use for organexplantations, or the adoption of children by homosexual couples, in the hope of preparing the ground and providing a valuable tool for future magisterial documents on these topics. In this way, the Academy will also seek to provide an important service to the Catholic Church and to the present and future Popes.
h. Study and defend the perennial teaching of the Church expressed recently in the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, and in the equally true moral teachings of Pius XI in Casti Connubi and St. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, Familiaris Consortio and Veritatis Splendor, in as much as these are open to philosophical understanding, and admit a kind of empirical confirmation that derives from various sorts of human experience, scientific experiments and investigations.
i. We are to understand and explain why any intentional interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, procured abortion and other forms of killing unborn human beings, including for eugenic or therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as legitimate means of regulating the number of children. Equally wrong is intentional sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary.
j. Most importantly, the ACADEMY will explain and explore why abortifacients and the use of pills and methods that are potentially abortifacient are to be considered covert abortions and the killing of human persons. The same holds true for IUD’s.
k. In its defense of the natural family, the ACADEMY will also explore the great contributions made in the 20th century towards a deeper understanding of marriage and human sexuality that have elucidated the distinctive nature of spousal love and its key role for understanding the virtue of purity and the meaning of human sexuality. Basic to this understanding is the profound, and not merely biological, link between the procreative and unitive meaning of the conjugal act.
Thus, JAHLF will hopefully lead to a renewed school of the deeper meaning of human sexuality and marriage, human life and the family, completely faithful to the truth accessible to human reason and to Catholic Church Teaching.
l. It will dedicate special efforts to the defense of the innocence of children and youth, where lies the future of the Church and society, but also of all men and women of good will, from the promotion of pornography, promiscuity, unnatural sexual behaviour and gender theory
Executive Academic Board: The executive academic Board (Referred to also as the Board) shall be composed of seven ordinary members of the ACADEMY. The members of the Board will be reconfirmed or replaced every 5 years by a vote of ordinary members to be held every fifth year during the General Assembly meetings.
Ordinary members who cannot be present at the elections held in general Assembly Meetings may hand in a signed paper naming another member as proxy. No present member may be proxy of more than one absent member
Board members, President, and Vice-President(s) may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the Board Members or of the ordinary members during the General Assembly Meetings.
If a member of the Board vacates prematurely his or her office, or is dismissed, he or she will be replaced by the majority vote of the Board.
The Board shall nominate the secretary and the treasurer, who may or may not be a member. The Board shall also nominate all associate (non-voting) members for a renewable period of five years.
All resolutions of the academic Board that do not require a two thirds majority are valid on approval by the majority of its members. In case of a tie, the President will have the deciding vote. In addition to meetings in person, meetings and decisions of the Board can be taken through communicating on Skype, if all members of the Board agree.
Internal regulations will be decided by the Board.
The provisions related to the legal status, employment and remunerations of the personnel of the secretariat of the ACADEMY shall be determined by its Board, on the suggestion of the treasurer, in accordance with the relevant laws of the country in which the Academy has its seat.
The Board of the ACADEMY shall draw up an annual report of the financial resources through its accountant. Upon request of at least one Board member, or in accordance with the legal home of the Foundation, the internal accounts may be subject to control by an independent accountant.
The Board should meet at least once a year at the request of the President. Its meetings are directed by the President who will send, upon consultation with the Vice-President, an invitation to a Board Meeting and a list of the Agenda at least two weeks prior to the meeting. Each Board member has a right to propose additional agenda.
The Board shall at the beginning elect the President and the Vice-President(s) from its membership for the duration of two years. This term can be renewed. The academic Board can also elect a President who is not yet a member of the Board, but will be automatically added to the Board if he/she accepts his/her election. (In this case, another member will join the Board so as to maintain the odd number of members and avoid a tie in decisions). Other tasks and rights of the Board are explained in §§ 4-9.
The Board will be assisted by an Advisory Board (art. 6)
The President. The direction and running of the ACADEMY shall be the responsibility of the President and Vice-President(s) jointly with the academic Board. The President will preside at Board and general assembly meetings and, with the Vice-President and Board, decide on invitations of speakers for the General Assembly Meetings and for Congresses, Colloquia, other public events, and publications of the JAHLP. Unanimity between Board, Vice-President and President should always be attempted. If it cannot be reached, and the double vote of the President cannot solve the deadlock, the simple majority vote of the Board members is to be followed.
Public representation, public speaking or publishing press releases in the name of the Academy belongs to the tasks of the President. The President may decide, however, to delegate one or more members to represent the ACADEMY publicly, if and in whatever way he or she considers it opportune to so do, including publications, contacts with the press, and the direction of Board and general Assembly Meetings.
The Vice-President. The Board of the JAHLF will also elect one or more Vice-Presidents who is/are entrusted with overseeing and organizing the research groups selected by the Board and the President, and prepare the General Assembly Meetings, assisted by a Secretary, also chosen by the Board.
The Advisory Board. The academic Board will be elected by the executive Board. Its members have to be regular members of the JAHLF. It shall not have more than 12 members and will help the President and executive Board to select the best speakers and members of research teams to prepare their presentations in the General Assembly meetings and the speakers for the respective topics of the general Assembly meetings. They will also make general suggestions for the running of the Academy. The Board can decide to ask them to participate in Board Meetings in order to give their advice.
Ordinary Members. The JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY shall consist of no more than 72 ordinary members. They shall be appointed by the Board on the basis of their expertise, professional integrity, and their unequivocal track record in the service of the right to life and their unambiguous affirmation of the dignity of each and every member of the human species as being a human person and of the family.
The members shall be chosen, without religious discrimination, from various nationalities and continents, and represent the various disciplines pertaining to human life (philosophy, theology, medicine, biological sciences, history, law, sociology, education, anthropology and the media). They pledge their allegiance to the teachings of Natural Law as they are expressed in the authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church and explained in the Statutes. They take the Oath of the Members. Ordinary Members form the General Assembly and have the voting rights and obligations pertaining to it.
Ordinary membership in the JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY is for life but shall be forfeited in the event of any public and deliberate action or declaration that contradicts the JAHLF principles or the content of the Oath.
Whether members have forfeited their right to membership by their actions or declarations will be determined, upon the recommendation of President, Vice-President, and Board, by the majority of the general assembly of the ACADEMY by secret ballot.
While the founding members, President and most other Members of the JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY are laymen, members of the clergy may be appointed as ordinary or Associate Members.
Associate Members. Besides ordinary members, the JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY will also have associate members elected by the Board. They will be elected on the basis of their substantial agreement with the truths about human life and the family JAHLF is founded to defend, but will not be required to take the OATH of the regular members nor to agree with every content of the Statutes. They will offer precious help as participants or speakers at Congresses and Public events JAHLF organizes and may help to form links with various institutes and centers of study that further, in theory or practice, the culture of life and of the family. They will be invited to General Assembly Meetings as participants without voting rights.
The term for associate members is 5 years and renewable. The same conditions for forfeitting their membership apply.
General Assembly. Beginning with the third annual General Assembly Meeting, a majority of the present ordinary members will have to reconfirm the original election of President and Vice-President(s), or elect a new President/Vice-President.
During the sixth Assembly they must reconfirm the members or elect new members of the Board by secret Ballot. For the reconfirmation a simple majority is sufficient. For the election of new Presidents/Vice-Presidents or Board Members a Two Third Majority is needed. The confirmation or election of President/Vice-President(s) through the General Assembly must be repeated every second year, the confirmation or election of Board members every 5 years.
The members participating in the sessions of the JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY, will have the opportunity to submit communications, present scientific papers and memoranda, participate in the discussions and vote. (See also Explanation Sheet for General Assembly Meetings).
Persons external to the JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY, who are experts in the subjects being studied, may be invited to participate as speakers in the individual sessions of the ACADEMY.
SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITY AND OPERATIONS
The scientific and interdisciplinary activity of the ACADEMY shall be the fruit of a collaboration between members, associate members, and experts of good will in different fields, from any denomination, philosophical or religious background, so long as these recognize the aforesaid truths and principles or are consulted only on specific questions in which they have expertise and for which their agreement with the overall-goals of the JAHLF is not required.
For the effective performance of its role, the ACADEMY shall avail itself of the following means:
a. For study: – The setting up of study groups with particular expertise in the questions under consideration; – the collaboration with university faculties where genuine protection and defense of human life or of the family is practiced and fostered.
b. For information: – The publication and promotion of books and the creation of a publication named THE SACREDNESS OF HUMAN LIFE AND THE FAMILY REVIEW with the aim of informing the public both about the Academy’s studies, research and activities and about international developments regarding the protection and defense of human life and its dignity, and of the family, and providing links to other like-minded publications.
c. For formation:
– General Assembly meetings – The promotion and support of fundamental and applied research in the various disciplines pertaining to human life, and of seminars on ethics. – Summer schools or congresses besides the general Assembly meetings.
TITLE IV FINANCIAL RESOURCES
As having the legal form of a Foundation in a country chosen by the Board, the ACADEMY shall be financially supported by public and private donations.
The Internal Regulations of the ACADEMY, resolved by the Board, shall be effective until the approval by a General Assembly that will be able to alter and improve the text by majority vote.
These Statutes have been approved by the Board and are effective until such time as a General Assembly decides otherwise. Any alteration of the text proposed by a member will require two thirds of the votes of the Ordinary members. Proxies are admitted according to the stipulations of art. 10.
DECLARATION OF THE SERVANTS OF LIFE
In the presence of God and men, I, as a Defender of Life, declare that every member of the human species is to be respected as a person independently of age or infirmity. I declare that the human person continues his or her life, whether from fertilization, twinning, IVF, cloning or any other origin of human life, until true death and the definitive separation of the human soul from the body. I further declare that the unborn human being may not be donated, sold, denied the right to progressive development, whether inside or outside his or her mother’s womb, or subjected to any kind of exploitation. No authority, not even the father or the mother, may take the life of the unborn.
As a Defender of Life I will never perform personally, nor will I refer for carrying out by a colleague, actions such as contraception, sterilization, IVF, artificial insemination, nor will I engage in destructive research on the unborn human being from the first moment of its existence in fertilization, nor will I perform procured abortion or euthanasia, nor defend these and other anti-life acts and practices in theory.
I declare, furthermore, that the sources of human life must be protected. The human genome, which is the patrimony of all humanity, may not be the object of ideological speculation, experimentation, commerce or patenting, nor be the object of any other activity that contradicts the dignity of the human person and its sacred value, derived from its profound link to the human life of persons. Wishing to perpetuate the Hippocratic tradition and conforming my practice to the eternal moral law, I reject all deliberate damage to the genome, all exploitation of gametes, and all manipulations of the human genome contrary to human nature and dignity.
I pledge to serve, according to my profession and calling in life, in theory or in practice, the relief of suffering, the curing of illness, the safeguarding of health, the correction of hereditary defects and/or education to that effect. Service to all of these good goals and to the fight against anti-life and antifamily evils is the purpose of my thought and of my work as a member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family, with constant respect for the dignity and sacredness of each human person.
As servant of human life and the family, I also vow to reject, in theory and in practice, all actions and theories that are untrue to the objective nature of human marriage as a life-long community of life and love of one man and one woman, sanctioned by God, and always open to conception and filled with the deep awareness of the great gift that is each child.
I also vow to support any effort to help parents to freely exercise their right to educate their children, on condition that they do not gravely abuse this right; to have their rights as primary educators of their children respected; and to serve in freedom not only the physical, but also the intellectual and spiritual life of their children.
I also vow to support, according to my profession and mission in life, in theory and practice, the proper aid to parents in order to live their parental mission, and to oppose any actions of states, schools, or local communities to obstruct the fundamental good of parental rights
9 POINTS DECLARATION ON THOSE TRUTHS AND VALUES WHICH EACH SERVANT OF LIFE VOWS TO UPHOLD:
1. Life begins at conception, twinning, or, by illegitimate acts of IVF or cloning, and must be protected and preserved until true death. As true philosophy, theology, and science show, no living individual of the human species must be considered other than a human person.
2. In every child who is born, and in every person who lives or dies, whether healthy or sick, whether conscious or unconscious, we see the image of God’s glory. We celebrate this glory in every human being, a sign of the living God, and, as Christians, we recognize each human being as an icon of Jesus Christ. (Evangelium Vitae 84).
As members of this Academy, we make our own the following words of the Psalms and Pope John Paul II:
“[A]s individuals and as a community, praise and bless God our Father, who knitted us together in our mother’s womb, and saw and loved us while we were still without form (cf. Ps 139:13, 15-16). We exclaim with overwhelming joy: “I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works. You know me through and through” (Ps 139:14). Indeed, “despite its hardships, its hidden mysteries, its suffering and its inevitable frailty, this mortal life is a most beautiful thing, a marvel ever new and moving, an event worthy of being exalted in joy and glory” (Evangelium Vitae 110).
Moreover, man and his life appear to us as one of the greatest marvels of creation: for God has granted to man a dignity which is near to the divine (Ps 8: 5-6).
3. Artificial birth control methods are intrinsically morally wrong. They violate Natural Law and always deform marital love and the marital union as well as the profound bond between human acts and the Creator God in human procreation. Some of them also can act as abortifacients or kill the unborn human being in other ways. Moreover, to give steroid hormones and similar drugs with known harmful side effects to healthy people in order to solve non-medical problems, is an act contrary to the person and to a Hippocratic-inspired, and even more to a Christian, medicine.
4. Induced abortion, euthanasia, suicide, and assisted suicide are intrinsically and always evil and violate not only God’s laws and the fifth Commandment, but also art.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights (Geneva 1948) which states “everyone has the right to life”. His Holiness John Paul II said in Evangelium Vitae, 70: “Grave crimes and denials of freedom have been, and are being, committed on its basis. Is not a democratic majority decision to legalize abortion actually a tyrannical decision against the unborn?” And 72: “Laws authorizing and promoting abortion and euthanasia offend against the good of individuals and the common good.”
5. “Brain death” is held by the overwhelming majority of ACADEMY members a deceptive manipulation of the word “death” that was chiefly invented to extract healthy organs from still living persons, (babies, children and young adults), because vital organs from a truly dead body (cadaver) are not suitable for transplantation. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI clearly taught, and it is part of natural law, that “you must not kill one life to save another”. “As long as the soul has not departed from the body, the person is alive.” One cannot decide that a person is truly dead while the heart is beating with circulatory and/or respiratory functions remaining actually, or potentially (for example, in a frozen state) intact.
6. Euthanasia, assisted suicide, and other forms of killing practiced today world-wide at an ever increasing pace, are always intrinsically evil, as they destroy human lives before a person’s true death. In Evangelium Vitae Pope John Paul II said in #65: “Euthanasia is an action or omission that of itself, and by intention, causes death so as to eliminate suffering… euthanasia gravely violates the law of God.” Further, “To help another person commit ‘assisted suicide’ is an inexcusable injustice…. euthanasia is a false mercy. And it becomes more serious still when it takes the form of murdering someone who has not requested it or consented.”
7. Therefore, all Members of this new JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY agree that human life and the dignity of the human person (EV 68) must be respected and protected at all stages of human life, from its beginning in fertilization, twinning, IVF or cloning until true death.
8. All members of the JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY recognize and hold in highest esteem the value of the natural family as a source of human life and abhor all theoretical and practical attempts, through education, politics, and ideology to launch attacks against the family.
9. All members of the JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY agree that solely God, and not evolution, can create the human soul and human life which is in its nature wholly irreducible to molecular or other physical events and inexplicable through purely physical causes. They also recognize the wrongness of all those interventions with human life that infringe on the metaphysical fact that only God is the Lord over human life and death.