Elio Sgreccia

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His Eminence
Elio Sgreccia
Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Angelo in Pescheria
Cardinal Elio Sgreccia.jpg
Appointed 20 November 2010
Predecessor Augusto Álvaro da Silva
Successor Incumbent
Other posts
Orders
Ordination 29 June 1952
by Vincenzo Del Signore
Consecration 6 January 1993
by Pope John Paul II
Created Cardinal 20 November 2010
by Benedict XVI
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Born (1928-06-06) 6 June 1928 (age 88)
Arcevia, Italy
Nationality Italian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Titular Bishop of Zama Minor (1993–2010)
  • Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family (1992–1996)
  • Vice President of the Pontifical Academy for Life (1994–2005)
  • President of the Pontifical Academy for Life (2005–2008)
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Styles of
Elio Sgreccia
Coat of arms of Elio Sgreccia.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See none

Elio Sgreccia (born 6 June 1928) is a bioethicist and a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is President emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life, director of the international medical ethics journal Medicina e Morale, president of the Ut Vitam Habeant Foundation and the Donum Vitae Association of the Diocese of Rome, and honorary president of the International Federation of Bioethics Centers and Institutes of Personalist Inspiration (FIBIP).

Early life[edit]

Elio Sgreccia was the youngest of six children born to a humble agricultural family. He was born and raised in Nidastore, a small town in the Comune of Arcevia in the Province of Ancona in the Marche region located in central-eastern Italy. His entry into the seminary was delayed by the start of World War II, so he continued to assist his family in the fields and attended a vocational school in the meantime.[1]

Church life[edit]

He ultimately entered the seminary in Fano and was ordained a priest on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul: 29 June 1952.

Sgreccia first served as a spiritual minister to the youth of Catholic Action. He completed university degrees in classical letters, philosophy, and theology, and worked as a professor, vice rector, and rector at Pius XI Pontifical Regional Seminary in Fano until 1972, when he became vicar general of the Diocese of Fossombrone.

On 5 November 1992, Pope John Paul II appointed him Titular Bishop of Zama Minor and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, where he served until his resignation in April 1996. He was a leading voice for the Church in its position on controversial ethical issues such as abortion, contraception, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia. He was consecrated as a bishop on 6 January 1993 by Pope John Paul II.

In 2004, he became president of the Ut Vitam Habeant Foundation and the Donum Vitae Association of the Diocese of Rome.

In one of his last appointments, Pope John Paul II named him President of the Pontifical Academy for Life on 3 January 2005, a post he held until his age-induced resignation was accepted on 17 June 2008. He was one of four prelates over the age of 80, known for their distinguished contributions to Catholicism, whom Pope Benedict XVI elevated to the rank of cardinal in the consistory on 20 November 2010. Sgreccia was made Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Angelo in Pescheria and was installed on 12 March 2011.[2] He did not participate at the Conclave of 2013 because he was too old.

In February 2014 Sgreggia named and shamed for Radio Vaticana the new Belgian rules in regard to euthanasia as being monstrous and cruel; Belgium did no longer formally exclude minors the access to this 'last option'.

Bioethics[edit]

From 1974 to 1984 he served as a spiritual minister at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, where he was involved with the spiritual formation of health care professionals and the investigation of biomedical moral issues. In 1984 he became a bioethics instructor at the same university. In 1985 he founded the university's Bioethics Center, with a focus on clinical ethics, and served as director until 2006. In the 1980s he was an observer for the Holy See on the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on Bioethics (CAHBI) of the Council of Europe. In 1990 he became a full professor at the university and joined Italy's Comitato Nazionale per la Bioetica (National Bioethics Committee), where he contributed to its many expert opinions until 2006. In 1992 he was appointed director of the university's Institute of Bioethics, with a focus on research, and served until 2000. His work at the Bioethics Center and the Institute of Bioethics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart entailed close involvement with the Agostino Gemelli Polyclinic, the university's teaching hospital.[3]

Elio Sgreccia became a member of the Committee for Guidelines on Genetic Counseling and Testing of Italy's Ministry of Health in 2001. In 2003, he founded the International Federation of Bioethics Centers and Institutions of Personalist Inspiration (Federazione Internazionale dei centri ed istituti di Bioetica di Ispirazione Personalista, FIBIP).[4]

Cardinal Sgreccia authored a monumental scholarly work of international scope, his Manuale di bioetica (Manual of bioethics), presenting a reason-based philosophical approach to bioethics that dovetails with the natural law and the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. He refers to his approach as "ontologically grounded personalism,"[5] which applies a three-point or "triangular" method of scientific data, philosophical anthropology, and reason-based claims of moral obligation for action in order to make ethical judgments.[6] It was first published by Vita e Pensiero in 1986 with the title Bioetica. Manuale per medici e biologi (Bioethics: A manual for physicians and biologists). Its first edition under the definitive title Manuale di bioetica was published in two volumes by Vita e Pensiero in 1988. The fourth Italian edition was published in 2007. It has been reprinted numerous times and has been published in whole or in part in roughly ten different languages, including Spanish, French, and Russian.[7] The first complete English edition of Volume I was published by The National Catholic Bioethics Center in 2012 as Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications.[8]

On 25 March 2011, Elio Cardinal Sgreccia received an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome,[9] whose School of Bioethics (2001) was the first in higher education to offer a complete degree program in bioethics: bachelor, licentiate (master), and doctorate.

Publications[edit]

Elio Cardinal Sgreccia has published some 400 works in Italian and various other languages.[10] Some of the more significant works include:

  • Sgreccia, Elio. Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications. Philadelphia: The National Catholic Bioethics Center, 2012. Original Italian: Manuale di bioetica. Fondamenti ed etica biomedica. 4th ed. Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2007.
  • Sgreccia, Elio and Jean Laffitte. The Human Embryo before Implantation: Scientific Aspects and Bioethical Considerations. Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2009.
  • Sgreccia, Elio and M. Luisa Di Pietro. Procreazione assistita e fecondazione artificiale tra scienza, bioetica e diritto. Brescia: La Scuola, 1999.
  • Sgreccia, Elio. La bioetica nel quotidiano. Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2006.
  • Sgreccia, Elio, Angelo Serra, and M. Luisa Di Pietro. Nuova genetica ed embriopoiesi umana. Prospettive della scienza e riflessioni etiche. Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1991.
  • Sgreccia, Elio and M. Luisa Di Pietro. La trasmissione della vita nell'insegnamento di Giovanni Paolo II. Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1989.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sgreccia, Elio (2012). Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications. Philadelphia: The National Catholic Bioethics Center. pp. xv. ISBN 978-0-935372-63-2. 
  2. ^ Sgreccia, Elio (2012). Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications. Philadelphia: The National Catholic Bioethics Center. pp. xv–xvi. ISBN 978-0-935372-63-2. 
  3. ^ Sgreccia, Elio (2012). Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications. Philadelphia: The National Catholic Bioethics Center. pp. xv–xvi. ISBN 978-0-935372-63-2. 
  4. ^ Sgreccia, Elio (2012). Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications. Philadelphia: The National Catholic Bioethics Center. pp. xvi. ISBN 978-0-935372-63-2. 
  5. ^ Sgreccia, Elio (2012). Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications. Philadelphia: The National Catholic Bioethics Center. p. Back cover. ISBN 978-0-935372-63-2. 
  6. ^ Sgreccia, Elio (2012). Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications. Philadelphia: The National Catholic Bioethics Center. pp. 247–248. ISBN 978-0-935372-63-2. 
  7. ^ Sgreccia, Elio (2007). Manuale di bioetica. I. Fondamenti ed etica biomedica. Milan: Vita e Pensiero. pp. xv–xvi. ISBN 978-88-343-1290-2. 
  8. ^ Sgreccia, Elio (2012). Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications. Philadelphia: The National Catholic Bioethics Center. ISBN 978-0-935372-63-2. 
  9. ^ "Cardinal Elio Sgreccia Awarded Honorary Degree". Regnum Christi. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  10. ^ Sgreccia, Elio (2012). Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications. Philadelphia: The National Catholic Bioethics Center. pp. xvii. ISBN 978-0-935372-63-2.