War between the Vatican and Brazil

First in brief the (shocking) facts:
A 9-year-old girl was raped by her stepfather. The child is in the 15th week of pregnancy with twins, when an abortion is performed.
Although banned, the Brazilian law allows an abortion in two situations, namely in cases of rape and when the life of the mother is in danger.

The Roman Catholic Church had the (ridiculous) hope that the child would carry the twin pregnancy to the end. Last Tuesday, the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Dom Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, tried to convince the girl’s parents to refrain from abortion. The mother of the girl did not budge and did not even wish to talk with the Archbishop.

Subsequently, the Archbishop excommunicated the mother, doctors and others involved in the abortion.

“As a Christian and Catholic, I regret the fact that a bishop of the Catholic Church takes, I should say, this conservative position. Or in other words, it was not possible for the girl raped by her stepfather, to give birth to a child, as the girl herself was in mortal danger. I think that in this aspect medicine acted more appropriately than the church. The doctors did what needed to be done: save the life of a nine years old girl,” said medical-director Sergio Cabral.

According to the doctors, the girl, who is 1.33 m high and weighs 36 kg, had no physical structure for a pregnancy, let alone for a twin.

I do not need to make critical remarks myself. Here is a translation of the blog of Ricardo Kotscho, Paulista, 60 and reporter of iG and the magazine “Brasileiros”.

Can I excommunicate a bishop of my church?
This morning I opened the newspaper after I had written my previous article and could not believe what I read about this incredible incident of a 9 years old child, raped by her stepfather and pregnant with twins.

To save the life of the girl, the doctors of the Maternidade CISAM, University of Pernambuco, in Recife, did what they had to do. On Wednesday, she was subjected to an abortion to terminate the pregnancy.

The medical director of the Maternidade, Sergio Cabral, who was responsible for the operation, explained everything in detail:

“The biggest risk would have been the continuation of pregnancy. The body of a nine years old child has not yet been fully formed. If everything goes well, she will leave the hospital this week.”

Everything well, although not for the lawyer of the diocese of Olinda and Recife, Marcio Miranda, who announced that he will file murder charges against the victim’s mother, who allowed the abortion.

Can you imagine such an absurdity? As if he speaks in the name of God, the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Dom Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, personally justifies in public the activities of the lawyer:

“We, representatives of the Catholic Church have the obligation to proclaim God’s law. In such cases the aim does not justify the means and is the secular law contrary to God’s law against murder.”

We? Who? This paleface? As a practicing Catholic, baptized, confirmed and educated at a priest school, ex-member of the Council for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of São Paulo, I can not accept that this bishop speaks on behalf of me and my church.

Outrageous. But what is at stake are not the laws, neither the secular nor the religious, but the life of a helpless girl and that all in a country, where the law allows victims of rape abortion into the 20th week of pregnancy, without judicial authorization.

As bishop Sobrinho has excommunicated already the whole family and half the world in this tragic drama, I wonder: Do I have the right to ban him from my church?

The more he tries to defend his position, the more rebellious the bishop makes me with what I read in the newspaper, to the point that I doubt whether the words are really from him:

“The girl was totally illegally pregnant, but we must save lives. The Church has always condemned abortion and will continue to condemn.”

Illegally pregnant? What is that? Is there legitimate rape?

If the bishop really is interested in saving lives, he would have given full support to the physicians of the Maternidade CISAM and the mother of the girl and not threatened them with a trial in a secular court.

Or he should go talking to Paula Viana, coordinator of Curumim, a non-governmental organization for the defence of women, who could explain whose lives must be saved:

“With each advancing day, the risk would be greater, the girl felt sick and showed already other complications. Immediate medical intervention was necessary.”

And to think that this Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife has been occupied by a man as my friend Dom Helder Câmara, the bishop who in the darkest days of the military dictatorship, risked his own life to save the lives of others.

I am sure that this church, which dom Sobrinho claims to represent not is my church, not the church of Dom Helder. Someone is in the wrong church.

end blogpost

The Minister of Health José Gomes Temporão, regularly locking horns with the Catholic leaders because of his programs against sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, classified the decision of the Catholic Church to excommunicate those involved in the abortion as “radical” and “inappropriate”.

“I was shocked by two facts: what happened to the girl and the position of this clergyman who wrongly claims to advocate for life and puts a very important other life at risk.”

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva also entered the war with the Vatican, when he said in an interview that “medicine has been more correct than the Church.”

I don’t need to add more words. Excommunication! Who cares? The Brazilian might be a Catholic, but he is no fool.