Vatican gets it!

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A Roman bishop,  in an article, spoke out about the harshness of the Brazilian Bishop’s intervention regarding the 9 year old girl who was raped, became pregnant and was given an abortion. The horrible experience for the little girl was want only lost in the abortion issue, but the publicity it generated caused her even more violence. This time someone at the Holy See “gets it” that the tone and style in which we speak the truth can make an important difference.  Give this guy a raise!


The Associated Press Sunday, March 15, 2009

VATICAN CITY: An influential prelate said Brazilian doctors didn’t deserve excommunication for aborting the twin fetuses of a 9-year-old child who was allegedly raped by her stepfather because the doctors were saving her life.

The statement by Archbishop Rino Fisichella in the Vatican newspaper Sunday was highly unusual because church law mandates automatic excommunication for abortion. Fisichella, who heads the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, also upheld the church’s ban on abortion and any implications of his criticism of excommunicating the doctors and the girl’s mother weren’t clear.

Fisichella argued for a sense of “mercy” in such cases and respect for the Catholic doctors’ wrenching decision, and strongly criticized fellow churchmen who singled out the doctors and mother for public condemnation.

“Before thinking about excommunication, it was necessary and urgent to save her innocent life and bring her back to a level of humanity of which we men of the church should be expert and masters in proclaiming,” Fisichella wrote.

The doctors, Fisichella noted, had said the child’s life was in danger if the pregnancy continued.

“How should one act in these cases? An arduous decision for the doctor and for moral law itself,” Fisichella wrote, urging respect for the inner “conflict” that the Catholic doctors must have suffered before deciding on the abortion.

Earlier this month, the archbishop of Recife, where the child and her family lives, made a public announcement about the excommunication, which is the church’s most severe penalty. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, a top Vatican official, has supported the archbishop.

But Fisichella criticized the archbishop’s public denunciation, writing that the girl “should have been above all defended, embraced, treated with sweetness to make her feel that we were all on her side, all of us, without distinction.”

Fisichella stressed that abortion is always “bad.” But he said the quick proclamation of excommunication “unfortunately hurts the credibility of our teaching, which appears in the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and lacking mercy.”

The Vatican teaches that anyone performing or helping someone to have an abortion is automatically excommunicated from the church, and the Vatican prelate underlined that abortion is “always condemned by moral law as an intrinsically evil act.”

“There wasn’t any need, we contend, for so much urgency and publicity in declaring something that happens automatically,” Fisichella wrote.

Writing as if he were addressing the girl, Fisichella said: “There are others who merit excommunication and our pardon, not those who have allowed you to live and have helped you to regain hope and trust.”

Abortion is generally illegal in Brazil, which is home to more Catholics than any other nation. But the procedure is allowed when the mother’s life is in danger, when the fetus has no chance of survival or in rape cases where the woman has not passed her 20th week of pregnancy.

Doctors said the girl was 15 weeks pregnant when the abortion was performed. Health officials said the life of the girl — who weighs 80 pounds — was in danger.

The pregnancy was discovered when the girl fell ill and her mother took her to a clinic. The child then told officials she had been abused by her stepfather, who is in police custody.

13 comments

  1. “‘There wasn’t any need, we contend, for so much urgency and publicity in declaring something that happens automatically,’ Fisichella wrote.”

    If this was the case we would never “publicly” announce excommunications for anything that happens automatically. It’s for the people who were excommunicated to be returned back to full communion and for the flock to be reminded that things like abortion have serious consequences in the life of a Catholic.

  2. Hi Friar Rick,

    I noticed that you shorted my post by about 29 words. I guess the truth hurts.

    On that note, I just came to the realization that all the fuss about everything in the Catholic world is about authority and who has the authority to bind and loose. I’m beginning to realize that some priests, bishops, cardinals and heads of whatever department in the Church and lay Catholics themselves are not friends of authority; and when they complain about Bishops who use that authority to do what needs to be done they use the guise of being pastoral to do it. Cowards…

    Redacting my words makes me realize that you are not up for any honest dialogue about anything. I’m done….have fun in your redacted world.

  3. Elizabeth,

    I guess Friar Rick is the moderator and he’s doing his best. Consider yourself extremely lucky that you only lost 29 words … He sometimes deletes my whole messages … He’s got my full support for that.

    Allow me to say that after all these months during which you were allowed to express your mind and your feelings … you are going a bit overboard with your remarks of Friar Rick not being honest etc …

    145 Hail Mary’s before you go to bed.

  4. I agree fully with Elizabeth. Why bother spending the time to comment if you aren’t going to allow the comment to stand.

  5. Friar Rick, your e-mail says: “Hi there. Thanks for your comments but they are too long. They must stay under 100 words. Please refer to the Guidelines.”

    I wasn’t previously aware of your Guidelines, because (1) it was my first time visiting, and (2) other blogs that are for serious discussion aren’t so restricted. My comments were well-referenced, and I happen to be a known specialist in the area. Instead of topical and substantive dialogue, you have chosen a discussion only about process!

    Like Elizabeth and Mobius, I’d rather be elsewhere. Please let me know if you ever reconsider.

  6. And Michael…this is my parting shot to you…stop saying things that people didn’t say, such as that I said Friar Rick wasn’t being honest. I did not say he wasn’t being honest. I said that he didn’t want “honest dialogue”. I knew the rules…100 words/keep it clean and this morning’s comments were pretty close. I agree with redacting emotional outbursts, but that was not it this morning. But you wouldn’t know that because you didn’t get to read my comments.

    Caio.

  7. Elizabeth has another point. Michael is always taking shots and making comments directed at others and I feel he’s never censored. I don’t see much being directed back at him and I don’t believe its due to a lack of responses. I know I’ve tried to correct him on past occasions only to see that my comment was dropped.

  8. Mobius,

    I make a copy for my records and archives of every single word I post. I would be more than happy to send you a private copy for you to judge the number of times Friar Rick has deleted my comments …. not 29 words as in Elizabeth’s case…. but entire messages …. please please give me a break with your wrong feelings against me.

    450 Hail Marys to you.

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