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.