Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, doyen of Italian Catholic bioethicists and adviser to Pope John Paul II – obituary

Elio Sgreccia, 2000
Elio Sgreccia in 2000 Credit: Piero Pomponi/Getty

Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, who has died in Rome on the eve of his 91st birthday, was for many years the Roman Catholic Church’s leading guide on bioethics; in Italy he was considered a public intellectual of considerable standing, in a country where intellectuals are still deeply respected.

He was born on June 6 1928, the youngest of six children in a devout farming family in the village of Nidastore, near Arcevia, in the province of Ancona, which had once formed part of the Papal States. The Marches were deeply divided between anti-clericalists and devout Catholics, something that Mussolini’s treaty with the Vatican, signed in 1929, had gone some way towards healing.

Sgreccia discovered a vocation...

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