In a recent comment piece commissioned by the Catholic Herald I addressed the clamour of concern raised in the Catholic media at some of the recent appointments to the Pontifical Academy for Life. One was reported as having tweeted several times in a way that implicitly supported access to abortion. Another was reported as publicly criticising the overturning of Roe v Wade by the US Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health. The conclusion to be drawn seemed evident enough: the Academy had redefined its mission since it was founded by John Paul II. The Academy has responded, and taken issue with the sources I consulted. From the information provided I will offer what will be – in part – a public response from the Academy to the controversy, through its press officer Fabrizio Mastrofini. In an email to me he took “the opportunity to better present the work that the Pontifical Academy for Life does”.
Regarding Prof Mariana Mazzucato, Mr Mastrofini asked the question: “who can really say that Mazzucato is pro-abortion? Where does this certainty come from? The ‘news’ is based on three or four tweets by the professor… To criticise on three or maybe four tweets is not acceptable to me.” He raised two points: first, that nowhere has the professor, in either her books or lectures, spoken in favour of abortion; secondly, that her appointment (as with all the other candidates) “was screened by the Pontifical Academy for Life’s Steering Committee, the Apostolic Nuncio in England, the Secretary of the UK Bishops’ Conference, it was screened by the Secretariat of State. It was then approved by the Pope.”
Of course, one might ask if any of these parties had seen Prof Mazzucato’s tweets. We are all familiar with the impact of past tweets on public figures when appointed to new roles. Scrutiny of one’s tweetography is inevitable now, so it should be second nature for any organisation to check the social-media output of candidates. But has the Church caught up to that? In the public square, prevention is better – and easier – than cure.The Pontifical Academy for Life—A Sequel – Catholic Herald