On February 11, 1994,
with his Motu Proprio
John Paul II established
the Pontifical Academy for Life.
The specific tasks
of the Academy are:
Study questions and issues connected with the promotion and defence of human life from an interdisciplinary perspective;
Foster a culture of life through suitable initiatives and always in full respect of the Magisterium of the Church;
Inform the authorities of the Church, the mass media and the civil community in general about the most relevant results of its study and research activities.
After Prof. Jérôme Lejeune
passed away in April 1994,
the Academy was led by
Prof. Juan Vial Correa (until 2004),
Mons. Elio Sgreccia (until 2008),
Mons. Rino Fisichella (until 2010),
Mons. Ignacio Carrasco de Paula.
There are ordinary members appointed by the Pope and corresponding members chosen by the Governing council. All of them have expertise in different fields of biomedical sciences and related disciplines.
1. In the presence of God and men, we, the Servants of Life, declare that every member of the human species is a person.
2. The care due to each does not depend on the age of persons or the kind of illness they may suffer from. The same human being continues his or her life process from conception until death.
3. The fertilized egg, the embryo, and the fetus may not be given away or sold. They may not be denied the right to progressive development in their mother's womb and may not be subjected to any kind of exploitation.
4. No authority, not even the father or the mother, may take the life of the unborn. A servant of Life may not perform actions such as destructive research on the embryo or fetus, elective abortion, or euthanasia.
5. We declare, furthermore, that the sources of life must be protected. The human genome, which is the patrimony of all humanity, may not be the object of ideological speculation, commerce, or patenting.
6. Wishing to perpetuate the Hippocratic tradition and conform our practice to the teaching of the Catholic Church, we reject all deliberate damage to the genome, all exploitation of gamets, and all induced deterioration of human reproductive functions.
7. The relief of suffering, the cure of illness, the safeguarding of health, and the correction of hereditary defects are the purpose of our work, with constant respect for the dignity and sacredness of the person.