Vatican City, Jun 13, 2017 / 02:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Tuesday the Vatican announced that Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, has been appointed by Pope Francis as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. “I am honored to have been appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life by Pope Francis. The issue of the sanctity of life has been a priority for the Knights of Columbus, and for me personally,” Anderson said in a statement June 13.

Anderson said that in their work they have taken Pope Francis’ words in Laudato si' and Evangelii gaudium as a guide, that “among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us.” “I look forward to working with Pope Francis and the Pontifical Academy for Life in supporting an authentic human ecology and building a culture of life based on a proper understanding of the right to life and the dignity of each person,” he concluded.

The Statues of the Pontifical Academy for Life, revised every five years, were last revised Nov. 5, 2016, leading to the Pope’s usual review and confirmation of current members, as well as new appointments. As head of the Knights of Columbus, Anderson is the chief executive officer and chairman of the board. He was elected supreme knight in 2000, and earlier served as supreme secretary and state deputy of the District of Columbia. He was first appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life in 1998 by St. John Paul II.

The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal order, was founded in New Haven, Conn., in 1882 by Venerable Michael J. McGivney, a parish priest. It has 1.8 million members worldwide who perform volunteer service and advance the order’s key principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.

The Pontifical Academy for Life is a team of scientists and ethicists representing different branches of biomedical sciences who are appointed by the Holy Father to work with Vatican dicasteries to discuss issues related to science and the protection of the dignity of human life. In total, Pope Francis has either appointed or confirmed 50 members to the Academy.

Those also from the U.S. are: John M. Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia; Kathleen M. Foley, M.D., attending neurologist in the Pain and Palliative Care Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and professor of neurology, neuroscience, and clinical pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medicine of Cornell University; Ignatius John Keown, professor of Christian ethics at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; and Daniel Sulmasy, professor of bioethics at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Other lay members named to the Academy are: Etsuko Akiba; Niggel Biggar; Francesco D'Agostino; Bruno Dallapiccola; Jokin de Irala Estevez; Mounir Abdel Messih Shehata Farag; Rodrigo Guerre Lopez; Alicja Grzeskowiak; Mohamed Haddad; Kostantinos Kornarakis; Katarina Le Blanc; Alain F. G. Lejeune; Jean-Marie Le Mene; Mónica Lopex Barahona; Ivan Luts; Manfred Lutz; Anne-Marie Pelletier; Adrian Messina; Alejandro César Serani Merlo; Avraham Steinberg; Jaroslav Sturma; William F. Sullivan; Fernando Szlajen; Marie-Jo Thiel; Angelo Vescovi; Alberto Villani; Shinya Yamanaka; and René Zamora Marin.

Clergy named are: Archbishop Anthony Colin Fisher of Sydney (Australia); Fr. Aníbal Gil Lopes; Bishop Daniel Nlandu Mayi of Matadi (Democratic Republic of the Congo); Mons. Lu√±o Ángel Rodriguez; Bishop Noël Simard of Valleyfield (Canada); Mons. Jacques Koudoubi Simpore; Fr. Tomi Thomas; Bishop Alberto German Bochatey, auxiliary bishop of La Plata (Argentina); Fr. Maurizio Chiodi; Archbishop Fernando Natalio Chomali Garib of Concepcion (Chile); Fr. Roberto Colombo; and Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk of Utrecht (Netherlands).

The Pope has also named and confirmed five honorary members of the Academy: Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop emeritus of Bologna, past president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family; Bishop lgnacio Carrasco de Paula, president emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life (Spain); Birthe Lejeune, vice president of the Jéróme Lejeune Foundation, Paris; widow of the first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the Servant of God Jérôme Lejeune; Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, president emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life; President of the International Federation of Centers and Institutes of Bioethics of the Personalist School, President of the Ut Vitam Habeant Foundation (Vatican City); and Juan de Dios Vial Correa, president emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life and rector emeritus of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago de Chile (Chile).